Munich: Museums house some of the world’s greatest works
April 2, 2009
In ancient Greece and Rome, a pinacotheca was a picture gallery. Many consider the north wing of the Acropolis’ Propylaea, with its paintings, the original pinacotheca. Today the word still refers to an art gallery, like ones in Bologna and Turin, Italy, or a trio in Munich.
In Munich, the gallery is called a Pinakothek. The Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek are two popular galleries that feature art from the 14th century to art nouveau. With their newest cousin, the Pinakothek der Moderne, the three, along with a trio of other museums, make up Munich’s Kunstareal, or art area.
The Alte Pinakothek houses European art from the 14th to 18th centuries. The building was completed in 1838, but the basis for its collection was art acquired over the centuries by Bavarian royalty.
Among its masterpieces are Albrecht Dürer’s "Self-Portrait with Fur-trimmed Robe," El Greco’s "Disrobing of Christ" and two rooms of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.
The Neue Pinakothek continues where the old one left off. The paintings and sculptures on exhibit are an overview of European art from classicism to art nouveau, ending on the eve of World War I.
Artists on display here are, among others, Gustav Klimt, Paul Cézanne, James Ensor, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
The present building opened in 1981, replacing one destroyed during World War II.
Anyone interested in how art continued to evolve in the 20th and 21st centuries can cross the street to the Pinakothek der Moderne to see for themselves.
Know and GoGetting there: Munich’s Kunstareal is just north of the city center, near the universities. Pinakotheken on tram line 27 is the nearest public transportation stop. The closest subway stops are Theresienstrasse, Königsplatz, Universität and Odeonsplatz, but from each it is still about a four-block hike.
Hours: The Alte Pinakothek is open daily Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Tuesday when it closes at 8 p.m. The Neue Pinakothek is open daily except Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Wednesdays it closes at 8 p.m.
Cost: Admission to The Alte Pinakothek is 9 euros for adults except on Sunday, when it costs 5 euros; those under age 18 get in free. Admission to The Neue Pinakothek costs 5.50 euros for adults except on Sunday, when it costs 1 euro; those under age 18 get in free. An audioguide is included in the price at both galleries.
Food: There are cafes in both museums.
More information: The Kunstareal’s Web site is www.pinakothek.de.