The SPSG Painting Collection contains over 4,000 paintings and miniatures from the 15th to 20th centuries, as well as wall and ceiling paintings. The collection includes exceptional works that are often displayed in their original arrangements within 18th and 19th century settings designed to be an interplay of various forms of art. This type of presentation reveals how works of art were displayed and interpreted earlier, which differs from how museum presentations allow us to experience works today.
The Hohenzollern dynasty began building up collections of contemporaneous and older paintings as of the 16th century. With the Picture Gallery at Sanssouci, the SPSG possesses the oldest extant structure north of the Alps that was erected as an independent building solely to house a painting collection. Since its construction, this building has continued to display outstanding works from the Renaissance and Baroque.
The collection of 18th century French paintings established by Frederick II and his siblings – with works by Antoine Watteau and his followers, including François Boucher and Jean-Siméon Chardin – is outstanding and one of the most important outside of France. A historical ensemble of French Rococo painting has been preserved almost unaltered at Sanssouci Palace. An exceptional group of major works by Antoine Watteau has been brought together in the New Wing of Charlottenburg Palace. And nearly all the palaces preserve works by the court painter Antoine Pesne.
Other focal points of the collection are Italian, Flemish, and Dutch Baroque paintings, with works by Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and Jan Lievens, among others, on display in the Picture Gallery and the New Palace. In addition, a large number of the collection’s over three hundred 17th century Dutch paintings are exhibited in Caputh and Oranienburg Palaces. German Renaissance painting is concentrated at Grunewald Hunting Lodge, where visitors can view a superlative collection of works by both Lucas Cranach the Elder and the Younger.
German Romanticism and Berlin Biedermeier painting, including numerous major works by Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Blechen, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Eduard Gaertner and Franz Krüger, make their home in Charlottenburg Palace and the New Pavilion.
Dr. Alexandra Nina Engel
Dr. Franziska Windt
Collection catalogue of the Painting Collection
Christoph Martin Vogtherr:
Französische Gemälde I. Watteau, Pater, Lancret, Lajoüe
Bestandskataloge der Kunstsammlungen: Gemälde; Französische Gemälde.
Herausgegeben von der Generaldirektion der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2011
Other literature in preparation:
Bestandskatalog Altdeutsche Gemälde
Lucas Cranach der Ältere und die deutsche Malerei des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts
Bestandskatalog Französische Gemälde, Bd. II