Art District Museums & Galleries, Munich

Art District Museums & Galleries (Self Guided), Munich

Kunstareal is known as the art district of the city. This small district is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world. Each of these museums portrays art forms from distinctly different eras. Located just north of the main train station, the artistic treasures here rivals the best in the world.
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Art District Museums & Galleries Map

Guide Name: Art District Museums & Galleries
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: greghasleft
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Alte Pinakothek
  • Brandhorst Museum
  • Galerie Thomas
  • Pinakothek der Moderne
  • Egyptian Museum Munich
  • Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collections of Antiquities)
  • Glyptothek
  • Lenbachhaus
  • Palaeontological Museum
Alte Pinakothek

1) Alte Pinakothek (must see)

European paintings representing the period before the 19th century are on display at this art gallery located in the Kunstareal art district of Munich. It consists of the extensive collection of masterpieces by the Wittelsbach Royal family and donations from other leading art collectors.

King Ludwig I of Bavaria commissioned the construction of the Alte Pinakothek in 1826. Architect Leo von Klenze designed the Italian Renaissance structure that later served as a model for many art galleries around Europe. The museum closed its doors during World War II and the collections were moved to a safe destination. The building was damaged by the World War II bombings and restored by architect Hans Döllgast in the 1950s. He covered the holes caused by the bombs in the exterior walls with bare brickwork as a reminder of the ravages of war.

The Alte Pinakothek has over 8,000 valuable pieces of art created before the 19th century. Collections include works by German artists between the 14th and 18th centuries, paintings of Dutch masters created between the 15th and 18th centuries, Flemish masterpieces, Italian, French and Spanish works from the 13th to the 18th centuries. A notable work is Rubens’ vast canvas called the ‘Last Judgment’. The museum is open on all days of the week except Mondays and public holidays. Audio guides in English are available for the benefit of visitors.

Why You Should Visit:
Fantastic museum to visit if you admire the classics. Thorough selection of Reubens, Turner, Monet, and van Gogh.... and a terrific copy of the Mona Lisa in better condition than the original hanging in the Louvre.

Come on Sunday, as entrance is a symbolic €1 – incredible value!
Inexpensive regular price includes an audio guide, and there are interpretive displays in English and German.
You can also purchase a multi-museum day pass for Alte/Neue/der Moderne Pinakothek.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Wed: 10am - 8:30 pm; Thur-Sun: 10am-6pm; Monday - closed
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Brandhorst Museum

2) Brandhorst Museum

The Brandhorst Museum displays the collection of contemporary art belonging to Udo Fritz-Hermann and his wife, Anette Brandhorst. The brightly colored eco friendly building is also regarded by the locals as a magnificent work of modern architecture.

Udo Fritz-Hermann and Anette Brandhorst began collecting contemporary art in 1971. Anette Brandhorst is the great granddaughter of the founder of Henkel and the manufacturer of Persil powder, Pritt Stick glue and Schwarzkopf haircare products. When she died of cancer in 1999, her husband donated the collection to the State of Bavaria. The Museum was constructed by the state at a cost of $67 million. The building was designed by architect Matthias Sauerbruch. It is a rectangular structure with two floors and its facade has over 36,000 ceramic louvers in 23 different colored glazes. The interiors have whitewashed walls to display the artwork effectively and there are three exhibition areas connected by staircases.

Exhibits at the Brandhorst Museum include over 60 canvases by the American artist, Cy Twombly, a 100 works of Andy Warhol and works by Jannis Kounellis, Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter and Bruce Nauman. Among the museum’s treasures is a display of 112 original editions of books illustrated by Picasso.

Opening Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 10:00-18:00; Thursday: 10:00-20:00; Monday: closed.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Galerie Thomas

3) Galerie Thomas

Located at Maximilianstrasse Street in Munich's Altstadt, Galerie Thomas is specialized in the German Expressionism and Classical Modernism. Founded by Raimund Thomas in 1964, today it is one of the leading international galleries in this area. Here you can find a wide collection of artworks from artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej Jawlensky, August Macke, Franz Marc, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Mueller, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and others. For many years, Galerie Thomas has also been a regular exhibitor at national and international art fairs such as "ART" in Basel and Miami, "ART Cologne", and "TEFAF" in Maastricht.

Operation Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 6 pm; Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm.
Pinakothek der Moderne

4) Pinakothek der Moderne

The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich unifies four art disciplines, paintings, graphics, architecture and design. It is one of the most visited contemporary art museums in Europe.

Stephan Braunfels, a Munich educated German architect designed the spacious building that houses the Pinakothek der Moderne. It was built between the years 1995 and 2002. The building is a rectangular structure with large windows. A vast canopied roof with a 25-meter glass dome is supported by white and grey columns. The building covers an area of 12,000 square meters.

The collection of modern paintings represents the 20th and 21st century with works by German and international artists on display. Video, photo and new media works are also displayed here. The graphics collection at the museum range from works collected by the Wittelsbach Royal family to contemporary 21st-century works. There are about 400,000 graphic sheets including old German and Dutch sketches, 19th century and contemporary works. The architecture museum hosts temporary exhibitions displaying blueprints, drawings, photographs, models and computer animations. The design collection has objects relating to industrial design, motor vehicle design, graphic design, and computer-generated models. In 2004, the Danner Foundation opened a special jewelry exhibition in the ground floor of the museum where creations of over a hundred international goldsmiths are on display.

Why You Should Visit:
The building is great, the gift shop is great, and the temporary exhibitions are always interesting.
Additionally, the design department is nothing short of superb featuring design evolution with beautiful iconic exhibits.

Free audioguide with picture ID – worthwhile especially to get an understanding of why the building is designed as it is.
You can also purchase a multi-museum day pass for Alte/Neue/der Moderne Pinakothek.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-6pm; Thu: 10am-8pm; Monday - closed.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Egyptian Museum Munich

5) Egyptian Museum Munich

Exhibits from all periods of the history of ancient Egypt are displayed at this museum located at Hofgartenstrasse in Munich. It houses the Bavarian State collection of ancient Egyptian art.

The exhibits displayed in the Staatliches Museum Agyptischer Kunst were purchased by several rulers of Bavaria. It was founded by King Albrecht V in the 16th century. His successors, Charles Theodore, elector of Bavaria and King Ludwig I added extensively to the collection. It forms part of the Residenz Royal Palace at present but a new underground museum designed by Peter Böhm on the lines of an ancient Egyptian burial chamber is being constructed opposite the Alte Pinakothek in the museum district of Munich, to house the collection.

Exhibits at the Egyptian Museum include statues, sculptures, papyri, stone tablets with hieroglyphics, glassware, textiles and pottery. Famous works on display are a double sided statue of Pharaoh Nyuserre Ini, with one side showing him as a young man and the other as an old man, statues of Pharaoh Ramses II and Tutmosis II and a collection of jewelry belonging to the Nubian Queen Amanishakheto. The museum periodically holds special themed exhibitions and offers conducted tours for children during the summer holidays.

Opening Hours: Tue: 10:00-20:00; Wed-Sun: 10:00-18:00; Mon: closed
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collections of Antiquities)

6) Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collections of Antiquities)

Greek, Roman and Etruscan artworks are displayed at this museum, located in the Kunstareal art district of Munich. The works formed part of the extensive collection of the Bavarian Royal family.

King Ludwig I commissioned architect Georg Friedrich Ziebland to design the neoclassical building, that houses the museum, in 1848. From 1869 to 1872, it served as the Royal Antiquarium. Later, the works by the rebel art group, the Munich Cessation, were displayed here, after which, in 1919, the New State Art Gallery moved in. The structure was badly damaged by the World War II bombings. It was rebuilt and opened its doors again in 1960 with the display of the Bavarian State Collection of Antiques.

The main exhibits are from the collection of antiques of the Wittelsbach House, the Royal family that ruled Bavaria. The major works are those acquired by King Ludwig I, including a valuable Attic Vase collection. Other objects are from private donors: Paul Arndt, James Loeb and Hans von Schoen. Small antique objects, glassware, terracotta objects, jewelry and artifacts made of gold and silver are also on display. The Greek Pottery collection at the museum ranks as one of the finest in the world.

Opening Hours: Tue: 10:00-17:00; Wed: 10:00-20:00; Thur-10:00-17:00; Monday: closed
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

7) Glyptothek

The Glyptotheck is a Greek and Roman Sculpture Museum located at Konigsplatz in Munich. It houses sculptures collected by the Bavarian King Ludwig I.

The Glyptotheck was constructed between 1816 and 1830 in neoclassical style to resemble a Greek Temple. The architect, Leo von Klenze, designed the building. Originally, all the walls of the structure were made of marble. The classical style building has an Ionic portico and the exterior walls have niches where 18 original Greek and Roman sculptures were installed. Originally, the interior walls were covered with frescoes by artists, Wilhelm von Kaulbach and Clemens von Zimmermann. The frescoes did not survive the damage caused by the World War II bombardment of the city. Many of the interior marble walls were also destroyed.

Between 1806 and 1830, King Ludwig I acquired one of the finest collections of Greek and Roman sculptures through his agents. Well known pieces at the Glyptotheck are the Munich Kouros and the temple figures of Aegina from the archaic period, the portrait of Homer and the Medusa Rondanini from the classical period, the Barberini Faun, which is regarded as the most famous sculpture from the Hellenistic period, and Roman busts including those of Emperor Augustus, Nero, Septimius Severus and his wife, Julia Domna. Visitors can take a conducted tour around the exhibits on Thursday evenings. The museum stays open all week except on Mondays.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

8) Lenbachhaus

The Lenbachhaus is a Florentine Villa that was once the residence of artist Franz von Lenbach. It houses a gallery displaying contemporary art including works of eminent Munich-based artists.

Franz von Lenbach, a 19th-century artist who was best known for his portraits of famous persons including Otto von Bismarck, employed architect Gabriel von Seidl to build Lenbachhaus. It was constructed between 1887 and 1891. Franz von Lenbach lived and worked in the grand Florentine mansion until his death in 1904. His widow sold the house to the city of Munich in 1924. Architect Hans Grassel designed an additional wing and Lenbachhaus was opened as an art gallery in 1926. In 1972, another wing was added just before the Munich Olympics. The museum is being renovated again and the damage caused during World War II is being repaired.

A variety of contemporary Munich-based and international artists are represented at the Lenbachhaus art gallery. The works on display include paintings by Munich artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Notable works are from a collection of works of a group of early 20th-century expressionist artists called the Blaue Reiter. The collection was donated in 1957 by Gabriele Munter, one of the best-known members of the group. International works on display include paintings by Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys. Exhibitions promoting works by new contemporary artists are regularly held at the Kunstbau.

Why You Should Visit:
There are few places in the world where you can see a significant number of Kandinsky, Münter, Macke, Munch and all their friends in such a brilliant setting. And it is a little bit of a hidden gem, making for a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

When you are finished, the terrace café/restaurant is great (also as a destination itself).
Be sure to ask for an audio guide, which is included in the cost of the admission.

Opening Hours: Tueday-Sunday: 10am-6pm; Monday: closed
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Palaeontological Museum

9) Palaeontological Museum

The Paläontologische Museum in Munich is one of Germany’s foremost repositories of natural history exhibits. It is a teaching facility that forms part of the Ludwig-Maximilian University.

The Paläontologische Museum is housed in a building constructed in the 1900s that was once the Urban College of Arts and Crafts. The grand mansion was built to house the college when the university was relocated from Landshut to Munich. It became a natural history museum in the year 1950 with exhibits showing the paleontological and geological history of the Earth.

The Palaontologische Museum has an impressive collection of animal and plant fossils that form the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology. Large dinosaur skeletons are displayed in the grand halls of the mansion. There are skeletons of Mesozoic reptiles, a wooly mammoth with its tusks intact, a saber toothed tiger and a 5 meter tall fossilized tree on display. The highlight is the skeleton of an Archaeopteryx, a genus of the extinct flying Theropod dinosaur that was discovered in the year 1991. The museum often hosts special themed exhibitions relating to biological and geological subjects. There is a coffee shop within the building. Entrance is free and the museum stays open all week, except on the first Sunday of each month. The opening hours are from 8am to 4pm except on Friday when it is open from 8am to 2pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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