Since we had only one day in Munich it was hard to decide which museum to visit. We chose Alte Pinakothek because of it’s collection of paintings from European artists from the 14th through 18th century. As many art museums in large cities, Alte Pinakothek is very large and you should plan to spend a few hours there to really appreciate what is offered. There are only two floors, but the museum is long and you will be drawn into all the various works.
I am a Rubens fan and this museum has more Rubens paintings than any other in Europe. There is a wonderful Rubens painting called the Lion Hunt which shows lions attacking the hunters on horseback. It is a very graphical painting and he captured amazing elements with the details of the muscles and expressions of not only the humans, but also the horses and the lions in the painting. They have on display an early version of the painting where Rubens sketched out drawings of the picture in a smaller form before he painted the canvas. It is a rare treasure to see how a master such as Rubens evolved and developed his work into the final piece.
In addition to Rubens, there are several other masters’ works on display as well. You will see numerous paintings by Rembrandt, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Titian and van Dyck as well as other Dutch, Flemish, French, Spanish and Italian artists. By seeing so many famous artists’ paintings that are not published in text books we felt that we saw a different side of the artists or were introduced to many of them for the first time. We were most impressed with van Dyck since we were not too familiar with his work before visiting Alte Pinakothek.
Throughout the museum there were two or three different paintings of a story called Susanna and the Elders. They were by different artists in different time periods. I bought a post card of van Dyck’s version so I would remember the name of it. To this day, I do not know what the story is, but I have created several stories myself of what could be going on with Susanna and the Elders. Is she guilty of something? Do they desire her? Did she betray them? I guess that’s what art interpretation is all about.