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|Location||Munich (German: München), Germany|
|Collection size||old masters|
The Alte Pinakothek (Engl. Old Pinakothek) is an art museum situated in the Kunstareal in Munich, Germany. It is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings. The name (old Pinakothek) alludes to the time period covered by the art — the Neue Pinakothek covers 19th century art and the recently opened Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art, all galleries are part of Munich's "Kunstareal" (the "art area"). The museum is part of the Bavarian State Picture Collection (German: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen), an organization of the Free state of Bavaria.
King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1825–1848) ordered Leo von Klenze to erect a new building for the gallery for the Wittelsbach collection in 1826. The museum galleries were designed to display Rubens's "Last Judgment" (1617), one of the largest canvasses ever painted. Very modern in its day, the building became exemplary for museum buildings in Germany and all of Europe after its inauguration in 1836, and thus became a model for new galleries in Rome, St Petersburg, Brussels and Kassel.
The museum building was severely damaged by bombing in World War II but was reconstructed and reopened to the public in the late 1950s. The ornate, pre-war interior was not restored.
The Wittelsbach collection was begun by Duke Wilhelm IV (1508–1550) who ordered important contemporary painters to create several history paintings, including "The Battle of Alexander at Issus" of Albrecht Altdorfer. Elector Maximilian I (1597–1651) acquired paintings, especially the work of Albrecht Dürer. 21 paintings were confiscated and moved to Sweden during the occupation of Munich in the Thirty Years war. Maximilian's grandson Maximilian II Emanuel (1679–1726) purchased a large number of Dutch and Flemish paintings when he was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. So he bought for example in 1698 in Antwerp from Gisbert van Colen 12 pictures of Peter Paul Rubens and 13 of Van Dyck, with the pictures of Rubens from the personal estate of the artist which were therefore not intended for sale. Under Max Emanuel's successors, the purchases were largely discontinued due to the tight budget.
Also Max Emanuel's cousin Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine (1690–1716) collected Netherlandish paintings. He ordered from Peter Paul Rubens the "The Big Last Judgment" and received Raphael's "Canigiani Holy Family" as a dowry of his wife. Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria (1742-1799) had a strong preference for Netherlandish paintings as well, among other paintings he acquired Rembrandt's "The Holy Family". By the late 18th century a large number of the paintings were already displayed in Schleissheim Palace, and accessible to the public.
After the reunion of Bavaria and the Electorate of the Palatinate in 1777, the galleries of Mannheim, Düsseldorf and Zweibrücken were moved to Munich, in part to protect the collections during the wars which followed the French revolution. Even though 72 paintings including "The Battle of Alexander at Issus" were taken to Paris in 1800 by the invading armies of Napoleon I (1769–1821), who was a noted admirer of Alexander the Great. The Louvre held it until 1804, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France and took it for his own use. When the Prussians captured the Château de Saint-Cloud in 1814 as part of the War of the Sixth Coalition, they supposedly found the painting hanging in Napoleon's bathroom. Most of the paintings have not been returned.
With the secularisation many paintings from churches and former monasteries entered into state hands. King Ludwig I of Bavaria collected especially Early German and Early Dutch paintings but also masterpieces of the Italian renaissance. In 1838 Johann Georg von Dillis issued the first catalogue.
After the times of King Ludwig I the acquisitions almost ended, only from 1875 the directors Franz von Reber and Hugo von Tschudi secured some important new acquisitions, such as the "Madonna of the Carnation" of Leonardo da Vinci or "The Disrobing of Christ" of El Greco.
The predilection of the Wittelsbach rulers for some painters made the collection quite strong in those areas but neglected others. Since the 1960s the Pinakothek has filled some of these gaps: for example, a deficit of 18th century paintings was addressed by the integration into the collection of works loaned from two Bavarian banks. Among others these paintings include Lancret's "The Bird Cage" and Boucher's "Madame Pompadour."
The museum is under supervision of the Bavarian State Picture Collection which own also an expanded collection of several thousand European paintings from the 13th to 18th century. Especially its collection of Early Italian, Old German, Old Dutch and Flemish paintings belongs to the most important in the world. More than 800 of these paintings are exhibited in the Old Pinakothek. Due to limited space in the building some associated galleries throughout Bavaria such as the baroque galleries in Schleissheim Palace and Neuburg Palace display also the Old Masters.
Giotto di Bondone, Christ on the Cross Between Mary and John, c. 1300
Jacopo de' Barbari (c. 1440–before 1516), Still-Life with Partridge and Gauntlets, 1504
Titian, Vanity, c. 1516
Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, 1599
Anthony van Dyck, Self Portrait, c. 1621
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1636
Murillo, Beggar Boys Eating Grapes and Melon, c. 1645-1655
François Boucher, Reclining girl (Marie-Louise O'Murphy, 1737-1818)
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Girl with Dog, 1770-1775
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