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Staatsgalerie Aschaffenburg Reopens after Eight Years

The Staatsgalerie Aschaffenburg, the Princely Apartments and the Paramentenkammer at Johannisburg Palace have reopened to the public today after years of renovation.

Johannisburg Palace, a massive four-winged complex on the banks of the Main near Frankfurt, houses one of the richest collections of electoral splendor. It was built from 1605 to 1614 under Archbishop-Elector Johann Schweikard von Kronberg and is one of the most important examples of palace architecture from the German Late Renaissance era. The 253 paintings of the Staatsgalerie, the ecclesiastical textiles and liturgical utensils in the Paramentenkammer (vestment room), as well as the furniture, clocks, chandeliers, porcelain and bronzes in the Princely Apartments are now on display in newly decorated rooms.

Since 2016, the rooms on the first and second floor of the main wing, along with the two staircase towers, have been renovated as part of an extensive construction project. Gone are the old worn wall coverings, dull lighting and clusters of humidifiers and fans. As of now, brightly colored wall coverings and display cases form the backdrop for the artworks that are lit by modern and energy-saving lighting. Characteristic features of the building and its period rooms have been preserved.

During the renovation of the building more than 250 paintings and their ornamental frames were cleaned and restored at the Doerner Institute of the Bavarian State Painting Collections. The furniture and interior of the palace, including clocks, chandeliers, porcelain and bronze was were treated by the Restoration Center of the Bavarian Palace Department.

The paintings collection of the Staatsgalerie is based on the original collection of Friedrich Karl von Erthal (1719-1802), the last Elector and Archbishop of Mainz. The collection attests to the taste and collecting aims of the elector: genre painting, Flemish and German landscape painting. It was enriched by the impressive Passion series by Aert de Gelder, Rembrandt’s last student The paintings are hung close together to give the impression of a Baroque painting gallery.

The first floor features a large room of paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Next to the Cranach room are two cabinets with other more German Renaissance painting. They form the transition to the completely redesigned galleries of the Parament Room, where precious ecclesiastical textiles and liturgical utensils from the Archbishops of Mainz are presented.

The second floor continues with works from the eighteenth century, including paintings by court painters from Mainz and two impressive series of paintings depicting views of Mainz and Aschaffenburg. The painting gallery ends at the Princely Apartments, where high-quality furniture, bronzes, candelabras and clocks from the early classical period are on display, many of which originate from Johannisburg Palace itself.

Photo’s courtesy of Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen / Haydar Koyupinar. Bird’s-view of Johannisburg by Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung /