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The Whole World under One Roof
The Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt [Hessian State Museum Darmstadt] is one of the major institutions in Germany, bringing together numerous collections from art, culture, and natural history. As one of the last remaining universal museums, the diversity and quality of its collections are unique in Europe.
In the Painting Gallery, visitors can expect an impressive collection of works by Pieter Brueghel, Peter Paul Rubens, Arnold Böcklin, August Macke, and Gerhard Richter. The ecclesiastical treasury houses valuable early medieval ivories. In the Art Nouveau collection, fascinating room ensembles by Henry van de Velde can be admired. The internationally significant holdings also encompass the "Block Beuys," representing the world's largest body of work by Joseph Beuys with 290 pieces. Other highlights include the zoological dioramas from 1906, a presentation of over 100 animal skeletons arranged as a herd, and 48 million-year-old fossils from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Grube Messel [Messel Pit]. Learn more about the collections of art and cultural history, as well as natural history here.
The origins of the State Museum date back to the collecting activities of the Darmstadt Landgrave Ludwig X. in the late 18th century. The museum building was constructed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Alfred Messel (1853-1909). Messel succeeded in creating rooms for each collection area that were specifically tailored in their architecture to the respective exhibits. Upon its completion in 1906, the museum was widely celebrated as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art.
In 1984, the Messel building was expanded by an extension designed by architect Reinhold Kargel, which now houses the Painting Gallery. Between 2007 and 2013, the buildings underwent comprehensive renovation, so that the architecture of Alfred Messel now shines in fresh splendor.