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Dresden: Finally Guests for the Sixtina

Visiting the Old Masters - with a mouthguard. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

Picture Gallery Opened 

By Simona Block, dpa

The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. In normal years, around half a million visitors come to see the masterpieces by Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens or Tizian - 2020 is different.

The Sixtina receives again. «It is rare that you are alone here,» says one visitor. She sits in the red-walled hall of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden almost devoutly in front of the famous altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael.

After a long abstinence from corona, art lovers are thronged again into the sacred halls of art when the mighty double door of the Semper building on the Zwinger opens to the public for the first time on Tuesday - after a good seven weeks of closure. Seniors, young women with children and students are waiting in front of the entrance.

With masterpieces by Italian, Dutch, Flemish and German painters, the Dresden Gemäldegalerie is one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. Semperbau has recently become the domicile of sculptures from the State Art Collections (SKD), to which the museum belongs, until 1800. It is one of the driving forces behind the network of 15 houses and is the beginning of a gradual return to normalcy. The exhibition building of the 19th century had only been reopened at the end of February after seven years of renovation and refurbishment - and closed again two weeks later due to Corona.

«Finally,» says General Director Marion Ackermann and is pleased with the response. A total of 337 visitors came until the afternoon. According to the corona protection regulations, a maximum of 200 may roam through rooms and halls at the same time, as a SKD spokesman reports. In the global circle of prominent museums, the SKD are among the first to end the lockdown step by step.

Christian (70) and Cornelia (68) from Niederwiesa near Freiberg are the first to enter and quite excited. «We missed it,» they say in unison. The pensioner couple is particularly excited about the «new» order in the rooms. They quickly put on their masks made of traditional blue print fabric - a welcome gift from the SKD.

The SKD boss with daughter Ada also has to wait a little later in the stairwell. «Otherwise there are too many people in the room,» says a friendly supervisor. One visitor per 20 square meters of exhibition space, at least 1.50 meters away and mouth-nose protection as a duty are the rules for visiting the museum in the corona pandemic since Monday. «People are really reasonable and reasonable,» says a security guard.

The limited access allows undisturbed viewing of the masterpieces from the sculpture hall to the German hall. The tour, marked with signs and tapes on the floor, leads in one direction through the sculpture hall past Michelangelos in the stairwell to the most prominent Dresden masterpiece: Raphael´s «Sistine Madonna». It «welcomes» in the company of Correggio and contemporaries.

To her counterpart in the East Hall, Rembrandt´s «Ganymede in the Catch of the Eagle», it goes through further side rooms to the second floor. There, two women look at the Bellotto veduta and discuss the famous Canaletto view of Dresden in the 18th century. «Delightful, wonderful!» Says the couple from Niederwiesa animated, who also came to the picture «Dresden from the right bank of the Elbe below the Augustusbrücke».

The art collections, a driving force of international tourism, are now making more of their houses and thus originals accessible step by step. Museum activity is also picking up speed in other federal states as well. Berlin´s famous state museums are facing a slow reopening in the Corona crisis. The first houses want to open their doors carefully on May 12th. On the Museum Island, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum and the Pergamon Panorama will initially allow you to view your exhibitions for a long time. The collection of paintings at the Kulturforum opens again. In Bavaria, museums, galleries, exhibitions and memorials will be open again from Monday after the compulsory break of several weeks.

Dresden (dpa)


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