Old Pinakothek in Munich, exhibitions and photos

Old Pinakothek

Old Pinakothek (German: Alte Pinakothek) – one of the finest art galleries in the world. Here, in 19 rooms and 49 rooms, there are about 700 works of art from the 14th and 18th centuries, including masterpieces by Da Vinci, Raphael, Dürrer, Bosch, Altdorfer, Titian, Botticelli, El Greco, Goya and many other famous artists. In the vaults of the gallery there are about 9,000 paintings by 1,400 masters. The gallery was opened in 1836.

The history of the collection of paintings in the Old Pinakothek dates back to 1529, when Wilhelm IV commissioned eight paintings with historical themes for his residence. The first of these was Ready Alexander’s Battle, depicting the legendary battle between Alexander the Great and Darius. Subsequently, other members of the Wittelsbach dynasty continued to collect art objects. A major addition to the art collection took place during the Thirty Years’ War, when pictures from Mannheim, Dusseldorf and Zweibrücken were brought in to keep them safe from the advancing French interventionists. The enlargement of the collection entailed the construction of a special room in Schleißheim Palace.

The collection continued to grow in the 19th century thanks to the efforts of King Ludwig I., renowned for his passion for all kinds of art. The unique systematization of paintings that he personally undertook laid the foundation for a future attraction and its worldwide renown.

It was not long before Ludwig I. decided that his private collection of masterpieces should be made public and that Munich should become one of the world’s art centers. To house the collection it was decided to build a new gallery building, which was commissioned from a talented German architect, Leo von Klenze.

The construction began on April 7, 1826. The date was not chosen by chance. April 7th is the birthday of Raphael Santi, whom Ludwig I worshipped. Today only two works by the famous Italian artist can be seen in the halls of the Old Pinakothek: “Madonna Tempi” and “Madonna Canigiani”. The building was built in record time. Already by 1836 the main exhibitions were open.

Wishing to instill in his countrymen the idea of beauty, Ludwig I decreed that every Sunday the gallery will be “open door day”. However, the townspeople did not appreciate the unique opportunity to experience the world’s masterpieces without hindrance. Most of them liked the other option – having noisy picnics on the enormous lawn in front of the museum.

The name “Pinacoteka” was borrowed from the ancient Greeks, who used the term to describe a room where objects with pictorial representations or paintings were kept. Seventeen years later, when a second Pinakothek appeared in Munich, “Old” and “New” were added to distinguish them. In addition, more recently, in 2002, the Pinakothek of Modernity opened.

The exterior of the Old Pinakothek is gloomy and gray, while the rooms inside surprise with austerity and a complete lack of decorations. There is nothing to distract visitors from the masterpieces of art. The transition from one subject to another runs smoothly and without switching attention.

Selected canvases from the Old Pinakothek

“Madonna and Carnation,” by Leonardo da Vinci, 1478

The painting was bought from an unknown dealer, and at the time it was thought to be of little value. Many years later it was identified as a work by the young Leonardo da Vinci. Today, it is the only work by the great artist still extant in Germany. Thanks to such a fortunate acquisition made in the past, modern connoisseurs of Da Vinci’s work can admire the gracefulness of the Virgin Mary, who is depicted holding the flower of carnations (the symbol of resurrection and immortality).

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“Portrait of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher, 1758

Official favorite of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour was known for her extraordinary beauty and impeccable taste. The Marquise’s stunning outfits immediately became role models. Perhaps for this reason she was well established as a trendsetter in court fashion. Her influential position at the royal court is also evidenced by the format of the painting. The fact is that the full-length portrait was performed exclusively for representatives of the royal families. Evidence of the political influence that Madame de Pompadour had is provided by the notebooks and pen depicted on the right. Her musical and artistic leanings are reminded by the engravings she made and the sheet music thrown at her feet.

“Resting Girl,” François Boucher, 1752

The painting depicts another famous court lady, the fifteen-year-old Louise O’Murphy (a future favorite of King Louis XV of France). According to Wikipedia, the underage François was the uncomplaining victim of Casanova, who commissioned her portrait.

“Susannah and the Elders,” van Dyck, 1622

Susannah’s image has inspired artists of various schools to create unique masterpieces for centuries. Legend has it that Susanna was a model of chastity and moral purity. However, when the young woman was taking a bath, two of the elders, tempted, wished to take advantage of her beauty. On receiving her refusal, they threatened to charge her with adultery, which in those days was punishable by imminent death. But the prophet Daniel intervened and told them what had really happened. Susanna’s honest name was restored.

For the painting, van Dyck chooses exactly the exit of the half-naked Susannah from the bath. At this moment one of the old men tries to tear off her clothes, while the other touches her body. The dramatic effect of the painting is heightened by the minor scene depicting storm clouds.

Van Dyck Self-Portrait, 1619

The painting depicts a self-confident, imposing and well-mannered young man of 20 years of age – the way the future master of court portraiture and religious subjects described by contemporaries. The son of a textile merchant, van Dyck, thanks to the ability to always look elegant, more like a nobleman than an ordinary representative of a wealthy merchant family.

“Madonna Tempi,” Raphael, 1507

This work by Raphael was a favorite of Ludwig I. It was purchased in 1829 from the Florentine family of the Tempi, who only agreed to part with the masterpiece after long and persistent negotiations.

As a rule, in the image of the Madonna the artist tried to convey his idea of female beauty and grace. The young Mary, reverently cradling the infant, appears full of charm, but not spiritual, not holy, but ordinary human. The artist masterfully conveyed the feelings of the mother, the vital joy and sincerity of the young woman. The baby, presented in a complex reversal, carries a light sadness; its seriousness slightly disturbs the idyllic tranquility of the composition.

“Alexander’s Battle,” Altdorfer, 1529.

Depicts the battle of Gaugamela (331 BC) between the Greek army of Alexander the Great and the Persian army of Darius III. The artist depicted the men fighting in modern armor. The Greeks can be recognized by their white and blue robes, and the Persians by their red robes.

A peculiar feature of the painting is the landscape with the setting sun and the rising moon watching the course of the battle, which has pushed the boundaries of the civilized world. In the central part of the painting we see Darius’ chariot being pursued by Alexander. In the background is the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea with the island of Cyprus, behind it the Red Sea, to the right is Egypt with the Nile Delta, which can be recognized by its seven arms.

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“Tax Collector with his Wife,” van Rijmerswale, 1539

The Flemish painter is known for his portraits of bankers, tax collectors, moneylenders and money changers. Depicted in flamboyant clothing, they were the epitome of greed. Their portraits with cloudy emotions were quite popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

“The Land of the Slackers,” by Peter Bruegel, 1567

The painting conveys a highly satirical attitude toward excess, so widespread among the dissolute upper class of the time. It is based on a legend, quite popular in European folklore, of a fairy-tale land of eternal happiness, gluttony and idleness. In it, milk rivers flow along the banks of the acidulous, fried birds and animals run through the lawns, people live in gingerbread houses, and instead of the usual stones everywhere rolls appetizing cheese.

The main virtue for the inhabitants of this country is pleasure, and the sin is perseverance and diligence in work. Whoever has an old and unsympathetic wife may exchange her for a beautiful one and get money in return. To get to such a magical land one must eat his way through a mountain of gruel. Bruegel depicted three lucky men: a priest, a knight and a peasant, all idly lounging around the table, having eaten their fill. There are still plenty of hearty meals on the table, a roast pig wanders nearby, and the roof of the hut is covered with pies. Besides, everywhere you look, there are countless free-ranging delicacies everywhere.

Rubens’ masterpieces at the Old Pinakothek

“The Last Judgment,” Rubens, 1617

Peter Paul Rubens’ luminous painting “The Last Judgment” reflects humanity’s conception of the important event when people will stand before God, and each will tell of his life, sins, and achievements. The future fate of the soul depends on the path of life: hell or heaven. The painting captivates with lightness, inspiration. Peter Paul Rubens reflected in the picture his inner state, one can feel the soul of the author. God is represented by the good judge, he is reflected in the faces who came to the judgment, grace, joy, bliss.

The peculiarity of the bounty is its size. The hall of the Old Pinakothek was specially designed to allow one to admire one of the largest paintings in the history of mankind, measuring 610 by 460 centimeters.

“The Death of Seneca, Rubens, 1613

The picture surprises with the combination of the spirit of death and the charm of the story. Seneca’s incredibly beautiful death and dignified departure are undoubtedly appealing.

Seneca had a peculiar attitude toward death. He did not regard it as evil, for it was provided for by nature. Life, as he understood it, was not a true good and was valuable only if it had a moral basis. To end one’s life by suicide is possible only when the moral basis disappears.

The origin of the picture was the story in which the mad emperor Nero considered Seneca a traitor and as punishment ordered him to end his life by suicide. The philosopher accepted the decision with dignity. Naked, Seneca tried to encourage his friends and his wife, who of her own free will decided to accept death with him.

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In the gazes of those present there is no horror, no tears, they are thinking about something lofty. Even as he slashed his wrists, Seneca was still inspired, so he summoned scribes to write down his thoughts. Note the enthusiasm with which one of the scribes looks at Seneca, ready to catch every word until Seneca’s last breath.

The Alte Pinakothek in Munich

Alte Pinakothek Munich

Adults € 7, students and pensioners € 5, children up to 18 years old free of charge. Admission € 1 on Sundays.

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the largest art galleries in the world. Old Pinakothek is located in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, in the south of Germany, in the district of Maxvorstadt. This museum of fine art contains a pictorial collection of European masters from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.

According to its name, which means “collection of paintings”, the Pinakothek contains only paintings.

After the upheavals of the French Revolutions, King Ludwig I. von Bayern decided to make the royal art collection available to the public. Specifically for this purpose, Ludwig I. decided to build a royal art gallery and commissioned the court architect Leo von Klenze to build a worthy project.

In 1826 construction work began. By the time they were completed, the building of the Royal Picture Gallery was considered the largest museum building in the world and was subsequently used as a model for museums around the world. It was Leo von Klenze who later completed the building of the New Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Leo von Klenze planned the Pinakothek, his masterpiece of architectural art, both luxuriously and functionally. Large rooms, additionally illuminated by overhead windows and glass roofs are combined with the study rooms of the northern wing of the building.

The core of the exposition of the art gallery consists of works specially commissioned by Wilhelm IV and, later, Maximilian I – Albrecht Altdorf, Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer. Maximilian I’s grandson, Maximilian II, as governor of Antwerp, acquired a large number of paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters. After the unification of Bavaria with the Palatinate, works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Boucher and others were added to the painting collection.

During the construction of the royal gallery building, Ludwig I., through his art agents, actively purchased paintings by great masters, giving preference to old German artists and works of the Italian Renaissance. Thus in 1827-1828 the collections of the Sublitz brothers, Buisser and the Counts Wallenstein were acquired, and Raphael’s Madonna and Curtain was purchased in Italy.

In 1836 the Pinakothek was opened, then, of course, without the prefix “old”, it was the only one. It was much later that the New Pinakothek and the Pinakothek of Modern Times would appear.

The name “Pinakothek” itself was chosen by Ludwig I and means, in translation from the ancient Greek, “collection of paintings”.

During World War II the Pinakothek building was severely damaged by bombing. The paintings had luckily been evacuated by then. A restoration project of the Old Pinakothek in 1957 involved the deliberate use of bricks different from those used in the main building. This restoration sparked public controversy, but still left the building with its war-time stains.

Alte Pinakothek Munich

Paintings of the Old Pinakothek in Munich

Of the museum’s many thousands of paintings in the permanent collection of 19 halls and 47 rooms on two floors, 700 canvases are on display.

German paintings from the 14th to 17th centuries

One of the masterpieces of the Old Pinakothek is Alfred Dürer’s Self-Portrait in Fur Clothing (1500). The unusual angle, colors, and most importantly, the gaze of the man depicted captures the attention. Painted by the 28-year-old artist on a board, the self-portrait is reminiscent of the image of Christ. The collection of the museum has a large collection of Alfred Dürer, because he was originally from Bavaria, Nuremberg.

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The work Alfred Altdorf “Battle of Alexander” (“Alexanderschlacht / Schlacht bei Issus”) from the historical cycle, written in 1524, and today amazes with the scale of the image and the strangeness of the colors.

Works by old Dutch masters

The Old Pinakothek contains works by virtually all the “Old Dutch”. The most popular painting is the fragment of “The Last Judgment” by Hieronymus Bosch. Additionally, there are canvases by Rogier van der Weyden, Dirk Bouts, Hans Memling and others.

The Adoration of the Magi Altar (Rogier van der Weyden, ca. 1455). On the left is the Annunciation, on the right the Presentation in the Temple.

The Adoration of the Magi Altar (Rogier van der Weyden, 1455). On the left is the Annunciation, on the right the Presentation to the Temple (“Purification”), © RussoTuristo_us

Flemish paintings of the 16th-17th centuries.

The museum’s collection of Flemish paintings is very substantial and includes works by Pieter Brueghel, Jan Brueghel, Antonis van Dyck, Adriaen Brouwer and other masters.

A special place in the Old Pinakothek’s collection belongs to Brueghel Sr. The painting is full of irony and satire. Before one can enter the Land of the Sloths, one must eat a mountain of gruel. The right side of the painting depicts a lucky newcomer flopping into Milk River Land, which is pictured on the horizon. There is food and drink ready everywhere – a fried pig running around with a fork in its side, an egg, already opened, with a spoon inside running toward it, plates of pies on the roof of the lodge. In the center of the image, the three estates – a knight, a peasant, and a clergyman – are wallowing. Bruegel denounces mortal sins in his painting.

The Old Pinakothek has 72 paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. It is the largest collection of Rubens in the world, with works spanning four halls. Many works were once made by Rubens specifically for the order of the Bavarian dukes of Wittelsbach.

The most famous is the huge (6 meters by 4.6 meters) canvas by Rubens “The Last Judgment”. It was commissioned by Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm for the altar of the palace church in Neuburg on the Danube. However, because of the abundance of nude figures, the painting was removed from the church.

Another masterpiece of the Old Pinakotheque collection is the self-portrait by Rubens. In the self-portrait Rubens depicted himself with his first wife, Isabella Brant. Art historians see in the manner, atypical for Rubens, similarities with the painting by Jan van Eyck “Portrait of the Arnolfini couple”. Unusual in the portrait was much – and a large image full-length, and the relaxed poses, and equal image of both spouses, at the same level. Critics have called this canvas a “portrait of marriage”.

Alte Pinakothek Munich

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintings

The centerpiece of the collection of Dutch Baroque paintings are Rembrandt’s early works “Self-Portrait,” “Holy Family,” and “The Descent from the Cross.”

Italian paintings from the 14th to 18th centuries

The exposition of Italian paintings starts from the period of Italian Gothic. Among other interesting works, famous painting “The Last Supper” by Giotto is placed here.

From the collection of the Italian Renaissance period, the works of Titian “Madonna and Child at Sunset”, “Earthly Love or Vanitas”, Raphael Santi “Holy Family Canigiani”, “Madonna Tempi”, Sandro Botticelli “The Mourning of Christ” are a special pride of the museum.

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The Old Pinacoteca possesses the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Madonna and Carnation. Da Vinci made this work when he was 19 years old, had not yet developed his own style, so initially, when buying, the painting was attributed to a pen of another master.

Spanish painting of the 16th-17th centuries

El Greco’s “The Disrobing of Christ” and Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velázquez’s “Portrait of a Young Man” are among the masterpieces of Spanish painting in the collection of the Old Pinakothek.

Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French paintings

Particularly notable in the collection of French paintings are Nicolas Poussin’s Bacchus and Midas, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin’s The Woman Who Cleans Her Turnip and Leopold von Bode’s The Saga of Pepin and Bertha.

Opening hours

All of Munich’s Pinakothek are open 6 days a week, with various days off. The Old Pinakothek has Monday off.

  • Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday – Sunday – from 10.00 to 18.00.
  • Monday – not working.

Special mode of operation:

  • On Faschingsdienstag, Carnival Tuesday (Faschingsdienstag) – the last Tuesday of Lent according to the Catholic calendar, May 1, December 24 and 25 and January 1 – the museum is closed.
  • On the other holidays the Old Pinakothek is open from 10.00 to 18.00.

Alte Pinakothek Munich

Ticket price

There are several ticket options at the Old Pinakothek.

  • Adult – 7 euros,
  • With discount: 5 euros,
  • On Sunday – 1 euro,
  • Children under the age of 18 are free.
  • Ticket for five museums for one day (Old Pinakothek, New Pinakothek, Pinakothek of the Modern Age, Brandhorst Museum and Schack Collection) – 12 €,
  • Ticket for five museums for two days with any day of visits (Old Pinakothek, New Pinakothek, Pinakothek of the Modern Age, Brandhorst Museum and the Schack Collection) €29.

Please note: Every Sunday a ticket to the Old Pinakothek costs only 1 euro. The offer does not include temporary exhibitions and audio guide.

To purchase a discounted ticket are eligible:

  • Persons over 65 years of age on presentation of passport,
  • Students on presentation of an international student card,
  • Students taking language courses of Goethe-Institut on presentation of a student ID card,
  • Groups of over 15 people.

How to get there

To get to the Old Pinakothek we recommend the use of public transport since there are no parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the museum.

By public transport

The Old Pinakotheken is located in the center of the city and can be reached by all means of public transportation.

  • By streetcar (Tram): Routes 27, 28 – to the Pinakotheken stop
  • By U-Bahn: U2 to Königsplatz or Theresienstrasse, U3 or U6 to Odeonsplatz or Universität, U4 or U5 to Odeonsplatz
  • By bus: Take bus line 100 Museumslinie or bus lines 68 and 93 to the Pinakotheken stop.

By Car

If you arrive by car, be prepared for a parking lot at least one kilometer away.

Parking lots at the Old Pinakotheken

Tiefgarage in der Amalienpassage

The underground garage in the Amalienpassage shopping center has 250 spaces and is open 24 hours a day.

Address: Türkenstraße 84.

  • Every half hour – 1,50 euro,
  • The maximum daily price is 24,00 Euros.

Salvator Garage

Parking for 365 cars on ground level.

Address: Salvatorplatz 1.

  • 1 hour: 3.50 euros,
  • 2 hours – 7,00 euros,
  • 3 hours – €10.50,
  • 4 hours – 14,00 euros,
  • 5 hours – 17,50 euros,
  • 6 hours – 21,00 euros,
  • 24 hours – 30,00 euros.

From both parking lots to the Old Pinakothek it is about a 12 minute walk.

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