The Old Masters Picture Gallery holds outstanding masterpieces from the history of European art. These include such famous Italian Renaissance works as Raphael´s "Sistine Madonna", Giorgione´s "Sleeping Venus", Titian´s "Tribute Money" and Correggio´s "Nativity". There are also impressive works of the Italian Baroque. The gallery´s outstanding 18th-century works include paintings by Tiepolo, Canaletto and Rosalba Carriera.
The Dutch section of the exhibition contains famous paintings such as the Virgin Triptych by Jan van Eyck and masterpieces of Flemish Baroque painting by Rubens, van Dyck and Jordaens. Outstanding among the works of the Dutch Baroque are, in particular, the museum´s collection of six paintings by Rembrandt, including his famous "Self-Portrait with Saskia". In addition, there are two paintings by Jan Vermeer, one of which is the "Girl Reading a Letter".
Examples of 17th-century French painting include an impressive ensemble of works by Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Among the artists of the following century we find not only Watteau and Lancret but also many painters who were directly associated with the Saxon court. The department of Spanish paintings displays a representative selection of works by the most important artists. As well as El Greco these include, above all, Ribera and Velázquez along with Zurbarán and Murillo.
The school of German painting is given particular prominence. As well as works by remarkable Renaissance artists such as Duerer and Holbein, the museum holds the world´s largest collection of works by the two Cranachs. Alongside works of the German Baroque paintings by artists of the age of August the Strong and his son are also on display. Particularly famous is the pastel depicting the "Chocolate Maid" by the Swiss artist Liotard. The exhibition finishes with works by Angelika Kauffmann, Fuessli and Anton Graff.
Although the "Kunstkammer" of the Electors of Saxony, founded in 1560, had contained some paintings, specialised collecting started only after Augustus the Strong came to power (1694 Elector of Saxony, 1697 King of Poland). Under his son, King Augustus III (ruled 1733 - 1763), who was an exceptional connoisseur of painting and the graphic arts, further significant acquisitions were made. In 1747 the King´s collection was moved to the Neumarkt into the stable complex that had been converted into the Picture Gallery. As one of the first truly public galleries in Europe it became an "école publique". Conservation concerns and aesthetic demands called for a new gallery building. Between 1847 and 1855 Gottfried Semper´s plans for the gallery at the Zwinger were carried out. The quality of this picture collection as well as Semper´s impressive building continues to set standards today.
The Old Masters Picture Gallery is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, one of the world´s most important museums. Further information is available at www.skd-dresden.de