Gemaldegalerie, SMPK, Berlin
Review of Art Gallery History, Collection Highlights, Contact Details.


Gemaldegalerie, SMPK, Berlin


Permanent Collection
Contact Details

Alte Meister Dresden
Guggenheim Berlin
Pinakothek Museum Munich
Kunsthistorisches Museum
Kunstmuseum Basel
Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts
Musee Conde, Chantilly
Louvre Museum
Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts
Uffizi Gallery Florence
Pitti Palace, Florence
Doria Pamphilj Gallery
Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel Frescoes
Capodimonte Museum, Naples
Mauritshuis Art Museum
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Before visiting the Gemaldegalerie
SMPK, Berlin, please see:
Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.


The Gemaldegalerie SMPK (Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz) (translated: The Picture Gallery of the Prussian State Museum of Culture) in Berlin, is also known as the Old Masters Museum. Ranked among the best art museums in Europe, it contains one of the world's best collections of European Old Masters. The gallery houses paintings by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) and Caravaggio (1571-1610), as well as the leader of the Venetian Renaissance Titian (1488-1576), Flemish painters Jan van Eyck (1395-1441), Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-69) and Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Situated near Potsdamer Platz there are over 3,600 works in the collection, exhibited chronologically over 72 Halls. That is, nearly 2 kilometers of exhibition space. The museum owns one of the largest collections of Rembrandt (1606-69) paintings in the world (16 in total). It also has a wide selection of Gothic art, some of the Greatest Renaissance paintings, several important masterpieces of Dutch Realist genre painting, along with portraits, still-lifes and landscapes. Netherlandish Renaissance painting from the 15th and 16th century is another major section, as well as Italian Renaissance art from 1300 to 1600.

For another famous art gallery in Berlin (long since closed), see the Sturm Gallery, founded by Herwarth Walden (1879-1941).

British Museum
National Gallery London
Tate Gallery
Courtauld Gallery
British Royal Art Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Hermitage St Petersburg
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Tretyakov Gallery Moscow

Prado Museum Madrid
Reina Sofia, Madrid

For news of any major exhibitions
being held at the Gemaldegalerie
SMPK Berlin, see:
Art News Headlines.


The collection first began in 1830, the core works coming from Frederick The Great (1717-86), King of Prussia. It was initially housed in the Royal Museum, now the Altes Museum in Berlin. Its first major expansion occurred under gallery director, Gustav Friedrich Waagen, who began to systemically expand the collection between the years 1890 and 1929. His connoisseurship and connections led to many important acquisitions. The collection covers almost all important art movements, including the Proto-Renaissance (c.1300-1400), the Early Renaissance (c.1400-1490), the High Renaissance (c.1490-1530), the Northern Renaissance (c.1400-1580), Mannerism (c.1530-1600), and the Baroque era (c.1600-1700). Eighteenth century Rococo and its serious successor Neo-classical art is also represented.

In 1904 the collection was moved to the newly constructed Kaiser Friedrich Museum (later renamed the Bode Museum). During the Second World War the museum was badly damaged and over 400 large-scale works were tragically destroyed. After the War, the division of Berlin was reflected in the division of the collection. It was split into two different exhibition centers, the Berlin-Dahlem and the Bode Museum. It would be another 50 years before the collection was reunited again. In 1997, with great publicity, the collection was placed in its present location at the Gemaldegalerie in Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz. Kulturform is a small district of Berlin where a collection of cultural institutions are situated together. The Gemaldegalerie was built in this area near the Berlin State Library, Philharmonie Hall, Museum of Decorative Arts and Neue Nationalgalerie.

The Permanent Collection

The gallery owns over 3,600 paintings on canvas, wood, stone and copper. The German collection of art is one of the best in the world, rivaled only by that in Munich and Vienna. On display are works from the Late Gothic and the German Renaissance by Masters such as Konrad Witz (c.1400-46); painter, printmaker and engraver Albrecht Durer (1471-1528); painter and woodcut printmaker Hans Baldung Grien (c.1484-1545); the portraitist and figurative artist Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553); and the Northern Renaissance portrait painter Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543). There is a large collection of Italian and early Flemish painting while the French, Spanish and English collection is smaller, but still exquisite.


Paintings of particular note include:

Woman With a Pearl Necklace (1662-64) by Jan Vermeer (1632-75).
One of Vermeer's "pearl pictures", it is related to several other works like Woman Holding a Balance (1662-63) and Woman Writing a Letter (c.1665-66), both in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

The Fountain of Youth (1546) by Lucas Cranach the Elder
This renowned oil on panel tells the legend of the spring of eternal.

The Glass Of Wine (1661/62) by Jan Vermeer
This work is a typical genre painting in the style of the Delft School.

Amor Vincit Omnia (Victorious Cupid) (1602-03) by Caravaggio
This oil painting from the early Italian Baroque period shows Eros the Cupid half sitting on items of human endeavors, including a lute, music sheets, pen and manuscript and an astral globe. Caravaggio tended not to idealize his figures, and his Cupid is no exception. With the use of dramatic chiaroscuro Caravaggio paints with almost photographic precision, and the young boy is depicted with a crooked grin and irregular teeth. The model may very well have been a street urchin. The pose he chose for his Cupid resembles that of Michelangelo's 'Victory' in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.

The Merchant Georg Gisze (1532) by Hans Holbein
Holbein painted this large portrait on a trip to England in the hope of using it as a virtuoso showpiece to gain more commissions. On first inspection the painting appears highly realistic, but if you look more closely you will see some optical paradoxes. For example the walls do not adjoin at a right angle and certain objects on the table are not painted flat on the surface. Accordingly the artist may have been suggesting that the solid world of merchant Gisze was not as stable as it may first appear.

- Oaks at a Lake with Water Lilies (c.1665) by Jacob Van Ruisdael (1628-82).
- Adam and Eve in Paradise (The Fall, 1526) by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
- Portrait of a Young Venetian Lady (1505) by Albrecht Durer.
- The Adoration in the Forest (1459) by Fra Filippo Lippi (c.1406–69).
- The Entombment of Mary (1310) by Giotto (c.1266-1337).
- The Presentation (c.1465) by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506).
- Self Portrait with Velvet Beret (1643) by Rembrandt (1606-69).
- Moses with the Ten Commandments (1659) by Rembrandt.
- The Divine Eros Defeats Earthly Eros (1602) by Giovanni Baglione.
- Lady Sunderland (1723) by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–92), UK portraitist.

Contact Details

Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz
Berlin, 10785

+49 (30) 266-2951

Opening Times
Tuesday & Wednesday: 10am to 6pm
Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Thursday: 10am to 10pm
Monday: Closed


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