The young Johann Wolfgang Goethe was enraptured by his visit to the Dresden Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery): “My amazement was beyond words!” He saw the masterpieces when they were still exhibited in the Johanneum, densely packed with three rows of paintings hanging one above the other. Nevertheless, the collection that he admired consisted of more or less the same selection of works that are presented in the Semperbau (Semper Building) today. The amazement and astonishment of the visitors has not changed since Goethe’s time: year after year the Gallery attracts more than 500,000 art lovers from all over the world. The great renown of Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) is due to the outstanding selection of top-quality masterpieces contained within it. One of the main collecting focal points of the museum is Italian Renaissance art, with major works by Raphael e.g. the “Sistine Madonna” (1512/13), Giorgione, Titian, Correggio, Mantegna, Botticelli, Parmigianino, Veronese and Tintoretto. Another important group consists of paintings by 17th-century Dutch and Flemish masters. The large number of high-quality works includes paintings by Rembrandt and his school, as well as Ruysdael and the great Flemish artists Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck. There are hardly more than 30 paintings in the world known to be by Johannes Vermeer of Delft. The Dresden gallery’s two works by this inimitable Dutch master constitute a special attraction. Other works on display include exceptional Old German and Old Dutch paintings, including works by Jan van Eyck, Dürer, Cranach and Holbein, as well as outstanding works by Spanish and French artists of the 17th century. Among the most famous are Ribera and Murillo, Poussin and Lorrain. The quality of the gallery’s holdings, as well as Semper’s splendid building with its magnificent architectural features continue to set standards even today – and the astonishment is certain to endure. The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) that are among the most prominent museums in the world. The combined holdings of the twelve museums offer the visitor a remarkable thematic diversity. These museums originated from the collections of the Saxon electors and Polish kings. They systematically developed cabinets of curiosities, which were accessible to select circles in their day and still form the core of the wonderful art treasures of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden today. The collections are situated in world famous buildings such as the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace), the Zwinger, and the Semperbau (Semper Building), which are among the most important sights in Dresden.