Neue Pinakothek

NEUE PINAKOTHEK: This is my favourite of Munich’s three big art galleries (Pinakotheks).
Inside is a collection of masterful European paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, many collected by King Ludwig I.

The works are housed in a post-modern building (1981) built to replace the original gallery (built 1853) which was destroyed in the Second World War.

It’s impossible to list everything on display here, and since viewing art is a subjective thing I’d like to take you through what stood out for me on a tour of the Neue Pinakothek.

italia and germania
GENTLE: Friedrich Overbeck’s Italia and Germania.

- Tip: Watch the shoes! -
Try and avoid wearing sneakers at the Neue Pinakothek. They squeak like a pair of pregnant mice on the museum’s parquet floors. I learned this lesson the hard and embarrassing way.

King and countries

neue pinakothek
HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Visitors in the hall with Joseph Stieler's portrait of King Ludwig I.
One of the first gems I came to was Friedrich Overbeck’s Italia and Germania (1828) in Room 4, with two European nations take serene female forms.

They were locked in a loving little embrace that warmed my heart and made me a tad melancholy at the same time.

Franz Ludwig Catel’s Country Festival near Pozzouli (1823) cheered me up no end in Room 5, maybe because I can relate to country bumpkins dancing like idiots.
King Ludwig I himself keeps watch over Room 8 from the seminal portrait of him in his coronation robes by Joseph Stieler (1826).

Huge scopes and sea creatures

playing in the waves
DARK: Arnold Böcklin’s Playing in the Waves .
Paintings which rival squash courts for size are what you’ll find in
Room 13
, including Wilhelm von Kaulbach’s epic Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (1846).

The centrepiece of Room 16 is Arnold Böcklin’s darkly seductive Playing in the Waves (1883), showing ocean-going brutes making off with fair maidens amid a stormy sea.

Vincent and friends

BOURGEOIS: Edouard Manet's Luncheon in the Studio.

Room 18 bears witness to French impressionists including Edouard Manet, whose bourgeois Luncheon in the Studio (1868) is a major draw card. Vincent van Gogh’s immortal Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (1888) hangs in Room 19 alongside more works from the man who cut off his ear to spite his face.

Late impressionists like Claude Monet are at home in Room 20. This was the group of painters crafting their work from an intricate series of dots. Monet’s Water-Lillies (1915) still puts bums on seats and Edvard Munch’s Woman in Red Dress (Street in Aasgaardstrand) from 1903 had me yearning for the Dutch countryside.

Steeds and sinful scenes

I was impressed by the power of Walter Crane’s The Steeds of Neptune (1892) in Room 21a, showing the ocean god crashing to shore atop a wave of storming horses.
Also here is Ludwig von Hofmann’s Notturno (1877), with a trio of luscious ladies languishing by a stream.
More famous, but less gratifying is the version of Franz von Stuck’s Die Sünde (The Sin) (1912) in Room 22a showing a moody young lady exposing her milky white flesh wreathed in a black serpent.
Back in the day she caused more commotion than Janet Jackson’s tit bearing at the 2004 Super Bowl, but I find her strangely shallow and overrated. Nice frame though.

outside the art galery
ARTISTIC RICHES: The Neue Pinakothek is about 20min north of the Hauptbahnhof on foot.

About the last you see is Ferdinand Hodler’s Tired of Life (1892), with its row of depressed old gents reflecting how your feet may be feeling after your tour.


The Details

Location: Barer Strasse 29
Phone: 089 23 80 51 95
Cost: €7, concession €5 including audio guide, Sundays €1
Open: Daily 10am to 6pm, Wednesdays to 8pm, closed Tuesdays.
Directions: Take U-Bahn No. 2 to Theresienstrasse and walk west two blocks. By tram take No. 27 from Karlsplatz-Stachus to the stop Pinakothek. Or you can take the “Museum Bus” line No. 100 from the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station).

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