• Frieder Burda Museum
    Frieder Burda Museum ©Museum Frieder Burda
  • Schirn art gallery, Frankfurt
    Schirn art gallery, Frankfurt © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2006 (Norbert Miguletz)
  • Karlsruhe State Art Gallery
    Karlsruhe State Art Gallery ©Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (N. Miguletz)
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Beauty in all its forms: art and architecture in Germany

From Old Masters to modern masterpieces, Germany is home to extraordinary treasures of the art world spanning every period and century. Marvel at fine art in all its forms of expression and discover architectural wonders that defined their eras.

The fascinating history of this renowned art museum is a story of civic engagement. Back in 1848, when the Leipzig art association opened the municipal museum at the Moritzbastei, the hundred or so works on display were donations from the citizens of Leipzig. And the present-day collection of 3,500 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and 60,000 drawings and prints is largely comprised of gifts from private initiatives and generous patrons.

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The fact that Düsseldorf , North Rhine-Westphalia's region capital, has an art museum of international renown today is thanks to the former Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm II, who began to build an art gallery here in 1710. A generous patron, he was able to bring numerous artists to the court and transformed the city into a European centre for art. Although the Kunstpalast Museum itself was only founded in 1913, it would not be what it is today had the Elector not been such a passionate collector of art.

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The collections at the State Gallery in Baden-Württemberg's regional capital Stuttgart have been shaped by their roots in Württemberg's history but also by the international approach the gallery has adopted since the Second World War. Opened as the Museum of Fine Arts in 1843, the gallery became the New State Gallery in 1984, occupying a striking new building designed by British architect and Pritzker prize winner James Stirling.

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Even the young Johann Wolfgang Goethe was enraptured after a visit to the Dresden Art Gallery: "My amazement goes beyond words!" he is said to have exclaimed. Today's visitors will be equally impressed, whether they look round the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in the Semper wing of Zwinger Palace or the separate Galerie Neue Meister at the Albertinum on Brühl Terrace, a gallery that was established in 1965.

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There is no doubt that the three buildings belonging to the Hamburg Kunsthalle house one of the most important public art collections in Germany: perhaps the best place to discover connections, developments and trends in seven centuries of art history. The permanent exhibition of more than 700 works and alternating displays from the museum's holdings offer a unique insight into art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

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The Schirn building itself is a bit like a modern art work in the heart of Frankfurt's old quarter, a light, angular design contrasting with the grand, red sandstone cathedral and the Römer , the old town hall. This art gallery lies in the heart of the city – and is an important focal point in Frankfurt's cultural life. It is also one of the most celebrated galleries in Germany and in Europe.

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