The city of Dresden was once associated with all things cultural and has been referred to as ‘the Florence of the North ’.
As patronising at that moniker may be it gives you some idea of the artistic renown in which the city was held for so long. Unfortunately, ever since February 1945 when the centre of the old city was wiped out by allied bombing, Dresden has been a byword for barbaric destruction and then, in the Cold War, communist style monotony. Thanks to some very impressive restoration since the reunification of Germany, the city of Dresden is now ready to go back to its previous reputation for art and culture and welcome visitors who want to explore it.
The Albertinum Museum
The first museum on this list has to be the Albertinum, although visitors should note that the building is closed for renovation until later this year. The building itself is quite interesting, having constantly evolved since the dark ages and has served as a Royal Palace and many other uses. When it reopens the museum will hold the New Master Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister) which will hold a collection covering the modern period and featuring works by many well known artists and sculptors. While visitors are waiting for the renovation work to take place there are selections from the New Master Gallery on temporary display. Complementing the New Masters Gallery is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, which means Old Masters Gallery. As the name suggests this covers a period earlier than the Albertinum, roughly the 1700’s back to the 1300’s. The collection was saved from the worst of the destruction of the war but then got ravaged by the Red Army. Most of the collection was later returned but certain pieces have never been found and are now presumed to have been destroyed.
The Museum der Dresdner Romantik
The Museum der Dresdner Romantik is a thematic rather than chronological collection dedicated to the Romantic Movement. This is another museum that lost some of its collection in the war, but thankfully most of it was saved. The exhibits here are quite varied and interesting, especially the remaining Stockhausens. Generally speaking, however, this is a museum for the connoisseur rather than the general interest visitor. The renovation of Dresden has been ambitious and comprehensive. The work on the Albertinum is needed and worthwhile so visitors shouldn’t get too frustrated with its closure. Certainly the rest of the city is splendid enough to keep visitors happy until it reopens. There is some debate about when that will be, there is hope that it will be later this year although it may be early next year. My fingers are crossed for as soon as possible. Photo of the Albertinum Museum in Dresden, Germany, by world of jan