New Light for Old Masters: The New Lighting System for the Gemäldegalerie

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

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin is implementing an innovative lighting concept from October 2021 to 2023. It will significantly improve the conditions for conservation and display of works as well as the energy efficiency of the space. The system reduces overhead lighting, creating harmonious ambient light and precisely placed spots on individual works instead to optimise the collection’s presentation.

For the museum to remain accessible to visitors, only the specific area under construction will close during the installation of the new lighting concept. The lighting system will therefore be implemented in four construction phases, with each section closing for six months. Due to the scope of the project, the temporary closure of individual halls is unfortunately unavoidable. We appreciate your understanding.

Admission

Due to these restrictions, the regular admission price for the Gemäldegalerie has been decreased to 8 euros (reduced: 4 euros) for the duration of the partial closures. During the exhibition Donatello. Inventor of the Renaissance the regular entrance fee, 14 euros (reduced: 7 euros), will be charged.

Sections Under Construction

In the second section, the area of 17th century Dutch painting, 17th and 18th century English, French, Italian and Spanish painting (Halls X–XIV, Galleries 16–26) will be closed. These rooms will be inaccessible from 19 April 2022 through approximately 1 October 2022.

Floor plan (PDF, 779 KB)

A selection of major works from the closed areas will be on display in adjacent rooms. The highlights from the rooms closed during the second construction phase will be presented in Hall XV and Gallery 11. In addition, there will be a few interventions made in other rooms of the permanent exhibition: Overview of the exhibited highlights (PDF, 478 KB).

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.