Our time in Stuttgart was unfortunately limited allowing visits to only two museums. With a visit to the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Museum never in doubt or open for discussion we had to narrow our choice down for the second museum. Having enjoyed the splendor of the castle, palaces and other predominantly grandiose buildings near Schlossplatz, we opted on this occasion not to spoil the glorious sunny afternoon with provincial history of lesser known principalities and rather opted for the art of the Staatsgalerie.
It was a good choice. The Staatsgalerie is divided into three main areas – old masters, modern art and graphics. We skipped the latter, glanced at the modern art while walking through to the exit (there are several Picassos) and concentrated on the old masters.
The Dutch Paintings include several by masters such as Rubens, an early Rembrandt (St Paul in Prison) and Hans Memling’s Batshsheba at her Toilette. In the latter the original corner piece of King David looking on was removed and repainted. The gallery obtained the original piece recently and it is displayed next to the altered picture.
The gallery also has a strong collection of German paintings dating from the thirteenth century onwards. The nineteenth century collection includes the obligatory works by Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Gauguin.
The painting I enjoyed most was a small rather gray one by the Master of Frankfurt dating from the fifteenth century. It is a scene from the child murder in Bethlehem and in contrast to the usual wailing of the mothers, some mothers in this painting actually fight back clobbering a soldier over the head with a shoe! I thought that unusual for painting of that era and probably more in line with what happened in real life.
However, by far the most interesting display in the gallery was in the Italian masters collection – a woman, looking like a cleaner, sitting motionless as if in a trance on the floor with one hand inside a bucket. She certainly didn’t bat an eyelid in the couple of minutes we spent in the room and as museum personnel walked in and out of the room as if nothing was amiss I assume she isn’t dangerous although it would have been easier to fathom in the modern art section.
Even more impressive was a tour of 8 children aged around 10. We entered the gallery with them and when crossing ways again after about 45 minutes they were still excitingly hanging onto each word of the guide. I’m not sure who should get the credit but their parents looked pretty impressed too.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Thursdays until 9 pm
Entrance: Euro 4,50 – free on Wednesday, additional charges for special exhibitions