From late antiquity to the 19th century and Art Nouveau
The Bayerisches Nationalmuseum belongs to Europe's greatest museums dedicated to both visual arts and cultural history. Pieces once owned by the House of Wittelsbach form the heart of the collection, but the richly varied collections also stretch beyond the borders of Bavaria. A tour through the galleries – which are designed to stylistically reflect the objects – brings the different artistic epochs to life – from late antiquity to the medieval period, through the Renaissance and the Baroque to the 19th century and Art Nouveau. Selected special collections, for example the collections of porcelain, ivory, musical instruments, furniture, textiles, gold and silver, and weapons, convey a colorful picture of European art and history.
King Maximilian II began mulling over the creation a museum of “German antiquities” as early as 1852, christening the project the “Bayerisches National Museum” in 1855 - the name by which it is still known today. In September 1857, the king compiled a list of “Suggestions for the Bavarian Historical Gallery (Herzog-Max-Burg) National Museum”. Meanwhile several architects made plans to extend the Herzog-Max-Burg.
The goal of the collection was “to wrest the most interesting monuments and other remains of past times which represent the Fatherland from oblivion”. According to contemporary tastes, the Middle Ages were in focus. In the early days everything “which serves to characterize the bygone centuries … in respect of art and craft” seemed worthy of collecting.
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