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March, 2004 - Nr. 3


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Oldest public museum turns 250

   TWIG - Home to scores of Old Masters paintings, the Art Museum of Lower Saxony — the oldest public museum in Germany — is celebrating its 250th birthday. Also known as the Duke Anton Ullrich Museum, it opened in Braunschweig in 1754, just one year after the venerable British Museum in London.

Around 170,000 different works, among them coins, furniture, handicrafts, modern art, and clothing, are housed in the nearly 900-year old Dankwaderode fortress in the central German city of Braunschweig. But the museum most prides itself on its impressive Old Masters collection, including works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, and Vermeer.

Although it has been years since the museum’s last blockbuster special exhibition, it still attracts nearly 60,000 visitors annually. Next August, the curators expect to easily surpass that number with an exhibition devoted to Peter Paul Rubens, the artist known for his dramatic, larger-than-life canvases.

Another high-profile show in the planning stages, "New Views of Oneself: Graphic Self-Portraits in the 20th and 21st centuries," will feature renowned artists’ uncanny ability to capture themselves.

The museum’s permanent collection can be traced back to Duke Anton Ullrich of Braunschweig (1633-1714), who ruled in an epoch of unparalleled peace and spent much of his money amassing an impressive collection of Baroque Art. Fifty years after his death, and during one of the highpoints of the European Enlightenment, his nephew Carl I founded the Art Museum of Lower Saxony as Germany’s first "museum for everyone," with Ullrich’s collection serving as foundation for the museum.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Art Museum of Lower Saxony


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