Alte Pinakothek – Munich, Bavaria, Germany

An Architectural Landmark and Its Masterpieces

Much of Munich’s status as the nation’s “secret capital” is due to its world-class museums. With room after room of Old Master and early northern European Renaissance masterworks in its collection, which range from the 14th to the 18th centuries, Munich’s recently refurbished Alte Pinakothek (Old Picture Gallery) now rivals the Louvre for high- style display.

Those running to catch the young Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin and Child or Titian’s Crowning with Thorns might miss out on works by Memling, Brueghel, Hals, and Durer (the Four Apostles, his final work, is another museum highlight).

The picture gallery boasts one of the world’s largest concentrations of 17th-century Flemish painter Rubens: of his sixty-two works here, Self-Portrait with His Wife and the huge Last Judgment are especially detour-worthy. Van Dyck, his most distin­guished student, is also extensively represented here.

The imposing brick building, constructed in Venetian Renaissance style, is itself an archi­tectural treasure, built in the early 19th century to house the personal art collection of Ludwig I. Across the street is the Neue Pinakothek (New Picture Gallery), picking up with major 19th-century works where its sister museum leaves off. For an odd but entertaining juxtaposition of experiences, spend a morning in the two picture galleries, and an afternoon on the Oktoberfest grounds.

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