(Photo Dr. Torsten Hennig via Wikipedia)
I have been in Dresden for a number of times and all were day trips from Berlin as it is only about 200 km away from Berlin. It is a historical city and you will love the old part of the city, especially the banks of the river Elbe. It has been the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony, who furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor for centuries.
Last week when I took some relatives (visiting us) to Dresden, and this time I was adamant to visit the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) located in the Semper wing of the Zwinger Palace. The earlier visits to Dresden was so short that I could not make it.
I was amazed with the collection. The audio tour device was feeding all the information about the works of Italian, Dutch, German, Flemish, Austrian, French, Spanish and Greek Masters. From Wikipedia:
The gallery holds over 700 old master paintings from Renaissance to Baroque that were collected by the Electors of Saxony August II and his son August III in the first half of the 18th century. In 1746 the latter one bought 100 paintings from the Duke of Modena Francesco III d'Este, gaining the gallery Europe-wide fame.Most of the pictures luckily escaped the WWII bombings as they were in underground store. They were carried to Moscow after the Second World War, and was returned to Dresden in 1955.
Amongst the highlights of the Gallery is Raphael's Sistine Madonna . But I liked Bellotto & Canaletto's portraits of Dresden. These paintings depicts Dresden's former beauty, much of it destroyed in the World War II bombings. It was a feast for the eyes devouring old masters' paintings like Rembrandt, Dürer, Peter Paul Rubens, Botticeli, Titian, Ribera, Cranach. Some were the size of the whole wall of a side of a room. You can take a look yourself from here. This year the Gallery launched a virtual world including all images and the Zwinger building in the Second life.
I wish I had more than one and a half hours time to visit the Gallery. I have to be there again.