Whether it's an altarpiece or a portrait, in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister every work is a masterpiece. Strolling through the high-ceilinged halls of the Gemäldegalerie, one encounters a host of familiar paintings that have been reproduced time and again: "The Chocolate Girl" by Jean-Étienne Liotard, the "Sleeping Venus" by Giorgione and Titian, Johannes Vermeer's "The Procuress", Bellotto's views of Dresden's historic city centre and many more.
One of the most well-known motifs of art history is found in the gallery: the Sistine Madonna by Raphael with its two angels at the bottom. Even 500 years after its creation, it continues to move those who view it and has become part of a visual memory that has long developed a life of its own as a decorative element on umbrellas and refrigerator magnets.
On three floors, 300 paintings from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries invite visitors to take a tour of European art and cultural history and witness the close interconnection of the different countries of Europe.
Van Eyck, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Murillo - the "who is who" of painting is alive here, from the early Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It is equally remarkable just how plentiful the holdings are of works by single artists: The Gemäldegalerie boasts the largest collection of Cranach paintings worldwide, which offers a thorough overview of the prolific production of Cranach's workshop.
The collection of pastels by Rosalba Carriera is also singular. August III had the famous Venetian woman painter make portraits of several members of his family and of the court, and had 157 pastels brought to Dresden - seventy-five of which can still be admired at the Gemäldegalerie today.
Thorough renovation work on the museum will continue until 2019, and so the gallery is currently not open in its entirety. But no one has to miss out on seeing the major works of the collection because all of the most central paintings are on show in the east wing, whose renovation is complete. One of the changes is already in place: A presentation of selected sculpture not only enriches the gallery now, but also gives a glimpse of the future presence of ancient sculptures in the East Hall of the Semperbau (Semper Building). There too, sculptures and paintings will be juxtaposed.