Art Collections, Opening Hours, Admission Prices, and Cheap Passes
The Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (State Art Collections) in Saxony, Germany is a magnificent collection of art spread over museums in the Zwinger, Schloss, and Albertinum.
The eleven museums of the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) are mainly housed in three buildings in Dresden’s old town: the Zwinger, Residenzschloss (Palace), and the Albertinum. The magnificent collections include not only paintings (old masters, impressionist, modern) and sculptures but also a huge collection of porcelain, prints, and coins. Scientific instruments and weaponry on display are as much art as practical instruments.
Museums in the Zwinger, Dresden in Saxony, Germany
The Zwinger, a Baroque pleasure palace, now houses several important museums:
- The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) is arguably the best museum in Dresden. It has paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries – the star of the collection is Raphael’s Sistine Madonna.
- The Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection) has over 8,000 Meissen pieces as well as a wealth of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
- The Rüstkammer (Armoury) has a vast collection of especially decorative hunting and tournament weaponry.
- The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Mathematics and Scientific Collection) is a wonderful collection of fantastically decorated scientific instruments and watches from a period when science and art were not strictly divided disciplines. (Closed for renovation – probably until 2010.)
Dresden State Art Collections – Museums in the Residenzschloss
Dresden’s Renaissance Residenzschloss (Palace) was extensively damaged in 1945 but rebuilding was completed recently. This town palace was long the main residence of the Wettinger dynasty that ruled Saxony (originally Meißen) from 1089 to 1918.
- The Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) contains one of Europe’s most important treasuries. The collection is divided into two parts: the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe (Historical Green Vaults) is housed in the original sumptuous Baroque rooms (and can only be seen on special tickets) while the Neues Grünes Gewölbe (New Green Vault) is in modern display rooms and open to all visitors.
- The Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs) includes over 500,000 works by 11,000 artists.
- The Münzkabinett (Coin Cabinet) has over 300,000 coins, notes, and related items.
Dresden State Art Collections – Museums in the Albertinum
The Albertinum is closed for renovation (probably until 2010) but meanwhile, some works from these collections are displayed in the Zwinger.
- The Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery) has 19th and 20th-century paintings, including a renowned collection of German romantic and impressionist paintings.
- The Skulpturensammlung (Sculpture Collection) has a large collection of Greek, Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque sculptures.
Other Dresden State Art Collection Museums
- The Museum für Sächsische Volkskunst mit Puppentheatersammlung (Museum of Saxon Folk Art with the Puppet Theater Collection) is housed in the Jägerhof in Dresden-Neustadt.
- The Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) is in the Pillnitz Palace along the Elbe upstream from Dresden.
Dresden State Art Collections – Opening Hours
The museums of the Dresden State Art Collections are open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Museums in the Zwinger are closed on Monday while those in the Schloss and Albertinum are closed on Tuesday.
Dresden State Art Collections – Ticket Prices
Admission fees to the Dresden State Art Collections are relatively low and special combination tickets can make entry pretty cheap.
Admission to the Gemäldegallerie Alte Meister, Porzellansammlung, and Neues Grünes Gewölbe is €6 each. Other museums are €3 each. Family tickets are usually double individual tickets plus €1. The pricing policy will change during 2009 with some museums requiring a house ticket (€10 per building) rather than individual tickets.
The day pass seems to have been discontinued from 2009 but admissions are also included in the tourist office’s Dresden City Card (with public transportation and other offers). An annual museum pass at €30 is great value for longer visits – it allows admission to all permanent collections for a year.
- Admission to the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe is NOT included in any passes. The Historisches Grünes Gewölbe can only be seen on time-specific tickets (€12.50). Currently, two-month advance reservations are needed in the off-season and much longer for holidays.
Dresden museums frequently have special exhibitions – sometimes requiring additional fees. Lovers of porcelain will be able to enjoy numerous events in the 300 Years of Meissen Porcelain program from 2008 to 2011.
Dresden is around two hours by train from Berlin or Prague and 30 minutes from Leipzig. It is also easily reached on cheap flights to the very conveniently located Dresden Airport.