• documenta, Kassel
    documenta, Kassel ©dOCUMENTA (13) (Nils Klinger)
  • UNESCO World Heritage Day, various towns and cities
    UNESCO World Heritage Day, various towns and cities ©Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH Monheim
  • Kunst : Offen, various towns and cities
    Kunst : Offen, various towns and cities ©Tourismusverband Vorpommern e.V.
  • Folkwang
    Folkwang ©Museum Folkwang (Bernd Thissen)
  • Festival of Lights, Berlin
    Festival of Lights, Berlin ©Christian Kruppa
  • Museums Night, various towns and cities
    Museums Night, various towns and cities ©Sergej Horovitz
  • Darmstadt Photography Festival
    Darmstadt Photography Festival © 2012, Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie
  • Städel Museum, Frankfurt
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt © Städel Museum (Norbert Miguletz)
  • Schirn art gallery, Frankfurt
    Schirn art gallery, Frankfurt © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2006 (Norbert Miguletz)
  • Federal Art Gallery, Bonn
    Federal Art Gallery, Bonn © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn
  • Hamburg Art Week
    Hamburg Art Week ©except Sunday Werbeagentur
  • Gallery Weekend, Berlin
    Gallery Weekend, Berlin ©Nick Ash
  • Sprengel Museum, Hannover
    Sprengel Museum, Hannover ©Hannover Marketing und Tourismus Gesellschaft

Old Masters and the stars of tomorrow: art exhibitions in Germany

The great German poet Friedrich Schiller once said that all art is dedicated to joy. But it is perhaps most joyous of all when great works of art leave the studios, galleries and workshops of the artists to be displayed, admired and contemplated in lavish exhibitions up and down the county.

Scandal and triumph, protest and passion, provocation and experiment – here they're all brought together. documenta is the world's most important series of contemporary art exhibitions, a mirror of society and a showcase for the global art world. It happens every five years and always lasts 100 days.

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It seems only yesterday that the New National Gallery in Berlin opened, so timeless, transparent, light and elegant is the building, a masterpiece by the famous architect Mies van der Rohe. In fact this glass temple, which was hailed worldwide as an icon of modern architecture, opened in 1968 and even today it remains one of Germany's most eye-catching museum buildings.

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The Pinakothek der Moderne not only brings together four museums under one roof – Sammlung Moderne Kunst, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Technische Universität Architecture Museum and Neue Sammlung – it's also part of an even larger group of museums: the Munich Art Quarter, which in addition to the Pinakothek der Moderne includes the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, Museum Brandhorst, Antikensammlungen, Glyptothek and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus.

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Karl Ernst Osthaus believed that people should have access to art and he founded the Folkwang Museum in 1902 – initially not in Essen , but in Hagen. It was only in 1921 that the collection was transferred to the industrial city in North Rhine-Westphalia , where it quickly developed into a world-class museum.

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There is probably no other building that better reflects how Germany perceives itself than the Federal Art Gallery in Bonn – known in German as the Bundeskunsthalle. A gallery devoted to art that is cosmopolitan, transparent, multifaceted and historically aware but that also has an eye to the future.

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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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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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