See a Rediscovered Rembrandt Landscape in the Gemäldegalerie Berlin

Landscape with Arched Bridge (“Landschaft mit Bogenbrücke”) is a rediscovered Rembrandt van Rijn painting on display in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin that now claims 20 works by the Dutch master.

Detail of Rembrandt Landscape with Arched Bridge in Berlin Gemäldegalerie
Landscape with Arched Bridge (Detail) © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

The painting Landscape with Arched Bridge in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin was considered for the last three decades to be a work by Govert Flinck. However, following intensive research, it was recently again reattributed to Rembrandt van Rijn. This rare landscape by Rembrandt will be on display in the special exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue in Berlin in the Gemäldegalerie until mid-July 2022 before returning to the regular exhibition. Buy skip-the-line tickets online — time-slot reservations are no longer required to visit the Gemäldegalerie.

Update 2024: New Berlin Museum Opening Hours

From 16 April 2024, several smaller museums will be closed on both Monday and Tuesday with shorter opening hours on many days. Opening hours for the Alte Nationalgalerie will be longer for much of the year, as the Caspar David Friedrich exhibition tickets are selling out fast, and also longer in summer 2024 for the top museums. See the latest Berlin museum opening hours for details.

Currently, time-slot reservations are essential only for the Caspar David Friedrich exhibition in the Alte Nationalgalerie (until 4 August 2024). However, it is sensible to book timeslots if available for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, and Das Panorama. (The Pergamon Museum itself is closed until 2027!) Timeslots are released only a few weeks in advance. Buy tickets and make reservations online at GetYourGuide or at SMB.

Online tickets for museums without timeslot reservations are skip-the-line — go directly to the entrance to scan the ticket. Many multiple-museum tickets and passes are again accepted, including Kulturforum, Museumsinsel, and the excellent value 3-day Berlin Museum Pass.

Landscape with Arched Bridge by Rembrandt in Berlin

When the Dutch landscape painting Landscape with Arched Bridge (“Landschaft mit Bogenbrücke” (Cat. No. 1932) entered the collection of the Gemäldegalerie in 1924, it was considered to be a work by Rembrandt. For Wilhelm von Bode, the then Director-General of the Royal Museums and an internationally renowned Rembrandt specialist, the acquisition of this landscape closed an important gap in the collection and completed Berlin’s outstanding Rembrandt holdings — currently 20 works including 17 paintings.  

Landscape with Arched Bridge came from the important collection of the Grand Duke Friedrich August von Oldenburg (1852-1931), whose painting collection was dismantled in 1918 after his forced abdication at the end of the First World War. In September 1919, the former Grand Duke had around 115 of his best works transported to the Netherlands largely unnoticed in a covert operation, where they ended up in the Amsterdam auction house Frederik Muller & Cie.

From there, a selection of 40 top works was sent to the U.S. for sale, including Landscape with Arched Bridge, attributed to Rembrandt. According to Bode, however, the work did not sell because of the high price and the small size of 28.5 x 39.5 cm.

In 1923, it passed into the possession of the art dealers Paul Cassirer and Julius Böhler. A year later, the landscape was finally acquired in exchange for three works from the collection for the Kaiser Friedrich Museum – an extremely auspicious transaction for the Gemäldegalerie, as it no longer had sufficient funds to make such a high-profile purchase. 

Landscape with Arched Bridge by Govert Flinck in Berlin

Rembrandt Landscape with Arched Bridge in Berlin Gemäldegalerie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

Landscape with Arched Bridge was considered an authentic work by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn until the 1980s. In 1989, however, it was written off after an investigation by the Rembrandt Research Project and re-assigned to Rembrandt’s pupil Govert Flinck. The decisive factor for the reattribution was above all the comparison with the painting Landscape with Stone Bridge in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.

The Rembrandt Research Project pointed out the astonishingly far-reaching stylistic, technical, and thematic similarities of the Berlin picture with other landscape representations by Rembrandt, especially the landscape in Amsterdam. However, it was precisely this observation that subsequently served as the decisive argument for attributing the Berlin painting to a successor or imitator of the master. 


Rediscovered Rembrandt Landscape Painting in Berlin

Rembrandt Landschaft Radierung 1643 in Berlin
© bpk / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Jörg P

Recent examinations of the Berlin painting and the evaluation of technical photographs, which were not available in 1989, have now confirmed that the work was painted by Rembrandt himself. It is now possible to identify changes and corrections in the painting that were made during the painting process. In this way, the development of the composition with its masterful lighting and the stimulating chiaroscuro contrasts becomes comprehensible. In contrast, the Amsterdam painting is hardly characterized by modifications and interventions of the artist.

Accordingly, the work of the Gemäldegalerie should not be regarded as a successor, but rather as a precursor of the Amsterdam landscape. This conclusion is supported by the dendrochronological findings, which point to a later date of origin for the Amsterdam painting. The major revisions Rembrandt made to the Berlin work also explain the striking differences in the painting style of the two pictures. In the Berlin version, it is comparatively dense and compact, in the following Amsterdam version translucent and precise. 

Although Rembrandt painted only a few landscapes, they were stylistically and compositionally groundbreaking for later generations of artists. Above all, through his masterfully staged and dramatically sharpened use of light, he created atmospheres that were extraordinarily atmospheric for landscape painting in the 17th century. Currently, only seven landscape paintings are known from Rembrandt’s painterly oeuvre. With the reattribution of the Berlin painting, this number now increases to eight works. 

Rembrandts in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin

Rembrandt highlights in the In the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) in Berlin
Rembrandts in the Gemäldegalerie

The Gemäldegalerie owns one of the world’s most important and exten-sive collections of works by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. With Landscape with Arched Bridge, this important collection now comprises 20 works by Rembrandt. As with the original acquisition of the painting around 100 years ago, an important gap can thus be closed and the holdings are successfully rounded out. 

David Hockney, Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter, 2007,
© David Hockney, Foto: Richard Schmidt

The painting is on display from 8 April to 10 July 2022 in the special exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue. The “Four Seasons” of the Würth Collection in Berlin. In it, Hockney’s monumental four seasons series Three Trees near Thixendale from the Würth Collection enters into a striking conversation with landscape images from the collections of the Gemäldegalerie, the Nationalgalerie, and the Kupferstichkabinett. Thus, Hockney’s engagement with the art of previous centuries and parallels to great role models such as Rembrandt, John Constable, and Vincent van Gogh become apparent. 

Gemäldegalerie Berlin Tickets and Visitors Information

Italian Baroque Highlights in the Gemäldegalerie Paintings Gallery in Berlin

Time-slot reservations are currently required to visit the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin — buy skip-the-line tickets online.

Regular Gemäldegalerie tickets include admission to the David Hockney — Landscapes in Dialogue special exhibition which is in the Wandelhalle in the center of the museum. At least a quarter of the Gemäldegalerie is closed for maintenance until autumn 2023, which explains the relatively low ticket prices (around €8).

For opening hours and practical tips see Visiting the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. See also Highlights of the Collection and the Italian Masterpieces for more on the permanent collection of the Gemäldegalerie.


More on the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin):

Note new opening times for many Berlin museums from mid-April 2024. Timeslot reservations are essential only for the Caspar David Friedrich exhibition (until 4 August 2024) but sensible (and sometimes needed in busy periods!) for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, and Pergamon – Das Panorama. (The Pergamon Museum itself is closed until 2027!). Timeslots are released only a few weeks in advance. Online tickets are available from GetYourGuide, which seems to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out. Many passes and multi-museum tickets are again sold (Kulturforum / Museums Island). Individual museum ticket prices range from €8 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code but pick up free audioguides first.

For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:

News & Temporary Exhibitions:

More Museum Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:

Previous Temporary Exhibitions:

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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