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New Baroque Gallery in the Residence in Bamberg opens with restored paintings
Johann Michael Bretschneider (1656-1727), Gemäldegalerie, um 1715 Leinwand© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Staatsgalerie in der Neuen Residenz Bamberg.

MUNICH.- The Baroque section of the State Gallery in the Neue Residenz in Bamberg was opened again to the general public on 13 July, 2013, after a closure of several weeks.

The gallery has been largely remodelled with 77 recently restored Baroque paintings from state and municipal collections now displayed in eight rooms. It has been possible to integrate numerous paintings in the new presentation originally from the Residence in Bamberg . All of these works have been the subject of a thorough restoration programme since last winter at the Doerner Institut’s workshops in Munich .

Two monumental pictures by Johann Michael Bretschneider (1656–1727) mark the start of the new tour of the gallery. A room with 40 paintings formerly owned by the prince-bishops, mostly in their original ornamental frames and hung in the Baroque style completely covering the walls, illustrates the customary style of collecting and presentation preferred by the church princes who resided in Bamberg . This is followed by choice examples of Netherlandish still lifes and landscape painting. A room with a six part cycle of paintings by Rubens’ teacher Otto van Veen (c. 1556–1629) and one with paintings by Jan Lievens (1607–74), a contemporary of Rembrandt, provide the museum on the cathedral hill with new highlights. The large-format Allegory on the Immortal Fame of Art Conquering Time and Envy by Karel Dujardin (1626–78) forms a thematically ideal conclusion to the new tour.

The object behind the new concept is to enhance the gallery’s appeal for art experts and the interested public through a high-quality selection of paintings and shifting the emphasis onto the High Baroque period, as well as making it more attractive for local residents through a stronger contextual connection to the city.

Ambient conditions and lighting
For decades, the ambient temperature, humidity and lighting conditions in the unheated gallery were perpetually the source of justified criticism. These shortcomings could only be addressed with the utmost caution due to the fabric of the historical rooms. It is hoped that the insulation of the windows that has now been completed in the Baroque Gallery will lead to a clearly felt improvement in ambient conditions. The ingress of cold air in winter and heat in summer should now have been reduced appreciably. Improvements to the lighting will also be made until spring 2014. A renewed closure of rooms for this purpose, however, will be kept to a minimum.

It is intended that everything will be completed by spring 2014 when a new guidebook will also be published.

The Minister of State in Bamberg
On 10 July, the Minister of State, Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch, visited the gallery to see the progress that has been made. The State Government of Bavaria made considerable funds available for remodelling the gallery in a supplementary budget in 2012.

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