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.
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.
All Berlin state museums are open in 2023. Time-slot reservations are essential only for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum (closed from October 2023 to 2027!), and Das Panorama. Timeslots are currently released only around four 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. The 3-day Berlin Museum Pass is excellent value.
See Update for Opening Hours of the Berlin State Museums (2023) for the latest information.
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
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
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
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.
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
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: Most Berlin museums and similar sights are open in 2023. Timeslot reservations are essential for only the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum (closed from 23 Oct 2023 until 2027!), and Das Panorama. Timeslots are released only around four weeks in advance. Tickets are available from GetYourGuide that seem to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out — many passes or multi-museum tickets are again available. Individual museum ticket prices range from €6 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code.
For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:
- Top National Museums and Galleries in Berlin (brief overview)
- Berlin State Museums: What Is Seen Where? (a short description of the collections in the different museums)
- Opening Hours of Berlin State Museums (2023).
- Ticket Prices for Berlin State Museums (prices for museums, temporary exhibitions, combination tickets, online time-slot reservations). Buying online from GetYourGuide is a lot simpler and costs the same as the official museum website. Timeslot reservations are essential for the most popular museums!
- Save with the Berlin Museum Pass – 30 museums (including all the SMB museums) in three days for €32 – a fantastic savings deal.
- Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (official website in German & English).
News & Temporary Exhibitions:
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2023 — overview, in the Kulturforum, in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museum Island, and the Museum of Photography.
- Both the Ethnological and Asian Art museums in the Humboldt Forum (Berlin Schloss) are now fully open — admission to both is still free and currently without the need to book a timeslot.
- The Gemäldegallerie is partly closed until September 2023 but at least 75% is open at any given time.
- The Pergamon Museum will be closed completely from 23 October 2023 and partly reopen only in spring 2027 (with the rest to follow by the mid to late 2030s).
More Museums Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:
- Alte Nationalgalerie with Caspar David Friedrich paintings.
- Altes Museum with Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art.
- Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldtforum.
- Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (free admission) with a collection of 19th-century German sculptures.
- Gemäldegalerie with its collection of German and Dutch Old Masters and Italian paintings.
- Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Arts)
- Musical Instruments Museum near the Berliner Philharmonie.
- Neue Nationalgalerie with early 20th-century art and Alexander Calder exhibitions.
- Neues Museum with bust of Nefertiti.
- Pergamon Museum with Ishtar Gate — the whole Pergamonmuseum will be closed from 23 October 2023 until 2027.
- Pergamon Museum Panorama Exhibition with Asisi panoramic painting and Greek statues.
- Photography — Helmut Newton collection and historic photos.
Previous Temporary Exhibitions:
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2022 — overview, in the Kulturforum (David Hockney), in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museumsinsel, Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art, and the Museum of Photography.
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2021 — including the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie, as well as the Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldt Forum.
- Top Special Exhibitions in 2020: Highlights, in Kulturforum, on Museum Island, in the Hamburger Bahnhof, smaller museums, and the opening of the Humboldt Forum in December.