Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Displaying over 750 works of art from the 15th to the 18th centuries, this museum was founded by Frederick Auguste II, son of Auguste de Starke. It was originally located within the Dresden Castle, but when the collection grew to be too extensive for the limited space, it was moved to the more spacious stables nearby. It was after this relocation when the architect Gottfried Semper designed a building fit for the grandiose art it would hold. Some of the most prominent pieces in the Gemäldegalerie collection are the Sistine Madonna by Raphael, the Procuress by Vermeer, and Sleeping Venus by Titian/Giorgione. During the beginning of World War II the gallery was closed and the paintings stored for safety. While the paintings and various works of art remained intact, the building itself was ruined during the bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945. The paintings were later confiscated by the Red Army and brought to Moscow and Kiev between the end of World War II and 1956-8 when they were finally returned. (NB)