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

Between October 2021 and September 2023, the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) in Berlin implemented an innovative lighting concept. The new system represents a significant conservational, aesthetic and ecological improvement. It optimises the presentation of the collection by reducing overhead lighting, creating harmonious ambient lighting and placing light accents precisely on individual works.

The Lighting Concept

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

The indirect lighting introduced via ceiling coves can now be dimmed to 20 LUX in the exhibition spaces. This permits future presentations of light-sensitive objects, such as works on paper, in addition to the paintings. Different media and genres from various collections can now be shown more flexibly than was previously the case.

The use of additional spotlights also makes it possible to illuminate the works directly, making their colours glow and improving the visibility of their painterly qualities, details and dark areas.


The conversion of the interior lighting to LED technology has made it energy efficient, low-maintenance and sustainable. It also improves the illumination of the objects. Valuable energy resources can be saved while protecting the paintings at the same time. The Gemäldegalerie thus gains an up-to-date, sustainable lighting concept together with an optimal conservational and aesthetic presentation of its artworks.

Sponsoring / Financing

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