The Collection of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture comprises over 30000 artworks dating from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque to Classicism. The Middle Ages were characterised by high-calibre works such as sacred paintings and treasury art, litugical implements, devotional and everyday objects.
The gilt silver relief Servatius Plaques and the Lion Aquamanile cast in bronze belong to the earliest important acquisitions of the collection. From the beginning, the collection included not only pieces of craft made from metal, Limoges-enamel, glass, ceramic and textiles, but also small wooden sculptures and carvings. The most prominent example of these is an ivory sculpture Madonna Enthroned. Since 1950, high-quality pieces, such as the late Gothic Christ Child and Riemenschneider’s Madonna on the Crescent Moon enrich the collection of works dealing with medieval Mariolatry, redemptive suffering and adoration of saints.
The Renaissance collection, too, includes masterpieces of international calibre, such as a representative bowl from Isabella d’Este’s court service in Mantua. Scientific instruments, such as the Torquetum, which was, like many other precious objects, displayed in courtly chambers of curiosities, were being systematically added to the collection. The highlight of an exquisite group of cabinet furniture from Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy is the Neapolitan Cabinet, which is not to be found in any other public collection worldwide. Of great significance are also the collections of Italian small bronzes, German medals, goldware and German small sculptures of the 16th century (including, among others, the famous mannequin). Since September 2012 the Renaissance collection is on view again, the Medieval collection with a focus on Christianity followed in March 2013.