- Art Education
The foundation of the collection was laid by the donations of the banker and industrialist Barthold Suermondt. In 1882, he donated a collection of mainly Dutch paintings from the 17th century to the City of Aachen. Further donations from Aachen's civic society increased the inventory, which today constitutes a comprehensive spectrum covering European painting from the 15th through to the mid-20th century.
The collection boasts outstanding works of late medieval painting from Germany and the Netherlands, as well as paintings from the "Golden Age" in Flanders and Holland.
In the Cologne Painting since the Early 15th Century section, the Master of the Glorification of the Virgin is definitely a highlight, while followers of Memling and the works of Albrecht Bouts testify to artistic development in the Netherlands. With three works, including the Cherry Madonna, Joos van Cleve represents the Antwerp school of painting. And the absolute masterpiece of the Early German section is Lucas Cranach's Judith with the Head of Holofernes.
The paintings from the 17th century are characterised by the profane iconography of the North, particularly the portraits, with Rembrandt's Portrait of a Young Man featuring prominently. The exhibition also encompasses excellent examples of genre painting like the Dutch painter Esaias Boursse's Boys Blowing Bubbles and the landscapes of the generation of painters following Jacob van Ruisdael. In terms of impressive still life painting, Willem Claesz Heda and Pieter Claesz are certainly the most outstanding masters of their art.
One of the major highlights of the collection is the Fall of the Damned by the Rubens pupil Jan Boeckhorst, a work that alludes to the counter-reformatory vigour of the South in Flemish painting. But there are also less ponderous subjects. For example, two paintings by Frans Snijders are based on books of fables, for example his The Rooster and the Diamond.
Individual masterpieces of Italian and Spanish painting like Jusepe de Ribera's Adoration of the Shepherds bear testimony to a European development, but also to the particular interest of the collector. Together with Dutch works, they characterise the profile of Aachen's Picture Gallery. The 18th century is represented by renowned masters like Januarius Zick.