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Art and Cultural History

The Archaeological Collections of the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt are among the oldest in Germany. They encompass Prehistory and Early History, Ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman antiquity, and the reception of antiquity.

Joseph Beuys, Block Beuys, Raum 2 © Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, VG-Bild-Kunst 2023

Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) was one of the major artists of the 20th century. With "Block Beuys", the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt possesses his largest authentic body of work in the world. Almost 300 works from the period between 1949 and 1972 are displayed in seven rooms.

Magnificent centrepieces, precious gold and silver work from the Renaissance to the Baroque period, vessels made from precious stones, ostrich eggs or coconuts: These treasures are collected in the Princely Treasury. Originating from the holdings of the Darmstadt ruling family, the display cabinets are lined with drinking games and goblets and other pieces dating back to the 19th century.

The arms and armor gallery in late Gothic style presents weapons and armour on a "catwalk" as well as glass paintings from the 14th to the 17th century.

The art collection of the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt offers an overview of around 700 years of art history. From the altarpieces of the Middle Ages to 20th century art, world-famous individual works such as Pieter Bruegel's "Magpie on the Gallows", the largest collection of Arnold Böcklin's paintings outside Switzerland and outstanding examples of Expressionism are fascinating. Art after 1945 shines with masterpieces from Gerhard Richter to Rosemarie Trockel and with objects and sculptures by Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi and Marina Abramovic.

Maria Sybilla Merian, Steinklee (Gelbe Blüte) mit Schmetterlingen, vor 1683, Deckfarben, Pergament

Drawings and prints from the 12th to the 21st century, posters, photographs and commercial art form the focal points of the Graphic Arts Collection. The collection ranges from Rembrandt and Dürer to works of Pop Art and contemporary art. The works can be viewed in the study room.

Thesmar André-Fernand, Hirné Henri, Orchideenbrosche, Paris, um 1902, Gold, gegossen, gesägt, graviert; Fensteremail, glänzend; Transluzidemail, glänzend; Perle

One of the most extensive collections of international Art Nouveau objects, furniture, jewellery and vases can be found on the museum's basement floor. Presented for the first time in the 1960s, it contains objects by the most famous Art Nouveau artists and workshops: from Emil Gallé to Joseph Maria Olbrich, from the Wiener Werkstätten to the famous Darmstadt artists' colony. The works of Henry van de Velde and the extensive jewellery collection – one of the most important of its kind in the world – form a focal point.

Ortenberger Altar, Mittelrhein, um 1420

The collections of medieval art are among the most important in Germany. Arts and crafts, sculpture, panel painting and stained glass from the early to late Middle Ages offer a deep and comprehensive insight into the art and culture of this period, which was characterised by Christianity. Highlights include Stefan Lochner's panel painting "Presentation in the Temple" and numerous precious liturgical objects made of ivory and enamel in the ecclesiastical treasury.

Sammlung Spierer, Ein Wald der Skulpturen, Raum 1 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

40 sculptures from modernism to the present day form the "Forest of Sculptures", which the Geneva art collector Simon Spierer donated to the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt in 2004. The international collection focuses on the forms of the stele, the figure and the torso. Styles and materials are as diverse as the artists represented – from Constantin Brancusi to Alberto Giacometti and Louise Bourgeois. The free installation in the space allows visitors to get up close to the artworks.

Aussenansicht Außenstelle. Foto: M. Stöckl-Reinhard, HLMD

In the listed Art Nouveau factory building, volunteer typesetters and printers use numerous functional printing presses to demonstrate working techniques that vividly document the industrial age in the printing industry from the beginning of the 19th century to the 1970s.

Die Haupthalle im Eingangsbereich des Hessischen Landesmuseums

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