New Light for Old Masters: The Gemäldegalerie’s New Lighting Concept

The Gemäldegalerie (Old Masters Paintings) is implementing an innovative lighting concept, resulting in partial closures until fall of 2023.

From October 2021 to October 2023, the Berlin Gemäldegalerie is implementing an innovative lighting concept that offers significant conservational that represents aesthetic and ecological improvements. With reduced overhead lighting, harmonious ambient illumination, and light accents precisely placed on individual works, the new approach optimises the presentation of the collection.

In order for the museum to remain accessible to visitors, only the specific area under construction will close during installation of the new lighting concept. The work will be performed in four sections of the museum, with each of these being closed for six months while the modifications are carried out.

Admission

Due to these limitations, regular admission has been lowered to 8 euros (reduced 4 euros) during the partial closures.

Sections Under Construction

The first section to be closed is the area dedicated to 16th century Dutch painting and 17th century Flemish and Dutch painting (Halls VI–IX, Galleries 6–15). This section is inaccessible as of 25 October and expected to reopen on 2 April 2022.

A selection of major works from the particular temporarily closed section will be on view in the adjacent halls. Highlights from the closed halls in the first section under construction will be presented in Hall XI and Gallery 16.

Planned Construction Sections and Times

  • From Rembrandt to 18th Century European Painting
  • Halls X–XIV, Galleries 16–26
  • German and Dutch Painting from the 13th to 16th Centuries
  • Halls I–V, Galleries 1–5
  • Italian Painting from the 13th to 16th Centuries
  • Halls XV–XVIII, Galleries 29–41

The Lighting Concept

The new lighting concept has three primary components: Reducing natural light from the skylights, controlling indirect light and adding spotlights to accentuate the works.

Following completion of the work, the indirect lighting introduced via coves can be dimmed to 20 lux. This will make it possible to present light-sensitive objects, such as works on paper, in context with the paintings. Different media and genres from various collections can thus be shown more flexibly than was previously the case.

The use of additional spotlights will also allow a more effective staging of paintings, emphasising their particular qualities or even harmoniously joining an entire group of works.

Sustainability

The conversion of the interior lighting to LED technology makes it energy efficient and more sustainable. It also improves the illumination of the objects. Valuable energy resources can be saved while protecting the art objects at the same time. The Gemäldegalerie is gaining an up-to-date, sustainable lighting concept together with an optimal conservational and aesthetic presentation of its works.

Sponsoring / Financing

The modernisation of the lighting system has been made possible through the generous financial support of the Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG.