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Alte Pinakothek Celebrates 175th Anniversary in 2011

Alte Pinakothek’s 175th anniversary in 2011 with a wide range of events. First opened to the public on 16 October, 1836, Leo von Klenze’s seminal museum building today still provides the architectural framework for collections of paintings assembled in Munich around 1800 by various branches of the Wittelsbach dynasty, together with Ludwig I’s later acquisitions.

A series of exhibitions in this jubilee year focuses on the history of our museum and its collection which is among the most important in the world. In mid March we start off by welcoming a special guest, Johannes Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance”. This masterpiece, now held in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, once formed part of the exquisite private collection amassed by the first king of Bavaria, Max I Joseph, who awaits rediscovery as a collector of Dutch paintings from the “Golden Age”. At the same time, the exhibition “Treasures from the Depot” will be held in the North Cabinet Rooms where paintings that are seldom or have never been displayed before can be seen throughout the whole anniversary year.

From April, a selection from the exceptional holding of works by Cranach in the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen will be on show. The title “Cranach in Bavaria” is consciously ambiguous as it does not merely relate to the early years of the artist who was born in Kronach, but also to the history of the holdings and their deployment today in various regions of the Free State. The exhibition “Concealed/Revealed” provides a special look under the surface of paintings from July onwards. Photographs taken using digital infrared reflectography render the artistic sketches of major works of German Renaissance painting in the Alte Pinakothek visible. Immediately after this show we will be “resurrecting” the historical building: large-format prints, made from glass negatives in our photographic archive that is now almost 100 years old, will give an impression of the former splendour and opulence of the Alte Pinakothek which, although severely damaged in World War II, was rebuilt in the 1950s in a more simplified form incorporating building materials that had survived.

The dazzling finale will be the exhibition “Pietro Perugino – Raphael’s Master” from October onwards. Selected paintings and drawings by Perugino in the form of outstanding international loans will be shown together with the altarpiece depicting the appearance of the Virgin to St. Bernhard, acquired by King Ludwig I, who commissioned the building of the Alte Pinakothek.

A series of lectures, guided tours and other events will be held thoughout the jubilee year.

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