The Picture Gallery of Sanssouci is the oldest extant gallery building in Germany. King Frederick II of Prussia had it built from 1755–1763 next to his favorite summer palace, Sanssouci, to house his newly assembled collection of paintings. Here, he presented, in closely hung arrangements, nearly 180 paintings of the Flemish and Dutch Baroque schools as well as the Italian Renaissance and Baroque period, which he juxtaposed with ancient- and French eighteenth-century sculpture.
Although the collection has undergone many changes throughout the centuries, even today, the opulent design of the interior gives an authentic impression of a royal eighteenth-century art gallery with its gilded ornamentation and sumptuous marble floors as well as its outstanding paintings and sculptures. Today, the Picture Gallery includes over 140 Flemish, Dutch and Italian paintings from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries partially originating from the eighteenth-century display of the Picture Gallery and other palaces of the Hohenzollern family. It includes masterpieces such as Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas, Lievens Oriental and seven paintings by Peter Paul Rubens (e.g. Battle of the Amazons, Hieronymus, Four Evangelists and Holy Family with the Basket). The gallery’s collection of nearly 100 Dutch and Flemish paintings also contains paintings by Jacob Jordaens, Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, as well as five works by Anthony van Dyck, such as the Salvator Mundi, Rinaldo and Armida and the monumental Descending of the Holy Ghost.
Dr. Alexandra Nina Bauer, Curator of German, Dutch and Flemish Paintings (May 2020)
Sanssouci Palace is administered by the Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens.
Die Schönste der Welt. Eine Wiederbegegnung mit der Bildergalerie Friedrichs des Großen
Alexandra Nina Bauer, Sakia Hüneke, Franziska Windt