Aschaffenburg's many galleries and museums display important works of art ranging from the Romanesque and medieval periods through to Renaissance and on to modern and contemporary art. The permanent exhibitions are often complemented by temporary exhibitions of international artists in the Jesuit Church Art Gallery.
Matthias Grünewald, also known as Matthias of Aschaffenburg, is considered one of the foremost exponents of the German Renaissance. His final work, The Lamentation of Christ, can be seen today in its original form inside the abbey basilica. A Christian Schad copy of Grünewald's famous Maria Schnee altar is displayed in a side wing of the basilica.
Lucas Cranach the Elder was one of the most influential and sought-after artists of the Reformation period. He was also a pragmatist and worked for the leading representative of the papacy, Archbishop Albrecht of Brandenburg. A considerable number of his works, including the well-known Altar of St. Magdalene, can today be seen in the Stiftsmuseum, in the State Painting Collection and in the court library at Johannisburg Palace.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, famous Expressionist and founding member of artists' group Die Brücke, was born in Aschaffenburg in 1880. Some of Kirchner's works are on display in the Johannisburg Palace Museum. The house in which Kirchner was born survived the war virtually unscathed and since 2013 has been used as a documentation centre for Kirchner's childhood and as a venue for Kirchner-related exhibitions.
Christian Schad is recognised today as one of the most influential members ofthe New Objectivity movement. He is credited with the invention of 'Schadographs', an art form that involves creating pictures on photographic material and that is considered one of the classic manifestations of Modernism. With around 3,200 works between them, Aschaffenburg's museums possess the world's largest collection of Schad originals. A selection of his paintings are currently on display in the Johannisburg Palace Museum. Once completed, the Christian Schad Museum will enjoy national and international renown as the hub of the town's future 'museum district'. On a fascinating journey through the centres of 20th century European art and cultural history, visitors will experience Expressionism, Dadaism, New Objectivity and Neorealism.
In 1792 court confectioner Carl May and his son Georg began crafting painstakingly accurate cork replicas of ancient architectural monuments, such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum. The cork model collection on display in Johannisburg Palace is the largest of its kind in the world.
A must-see for those with a passion for ancient cultures is the Pompeiianum, an idealised replica of a Roman villa created by architect Friedrich von Gärtner between 1840 and 1848. Inside, the spectacular frescoes and mosaic floors are complemented by changing exhibitions every year that feature original Roman artworks from the holdings of the State Antiquity Collections and the Glyptothek museum in Munich.
Hans Juncker (1582-1624) was born into an extensive dynasty of artists. He was one of the most influential German sculptors at the turn of the 17th century, and many of his works can be found in and around Aschaffenburg. He is best known for the high altar in the chapel of Johannisburg Palace (1614). Exquisite alabaster was his material of choice. Aged just 16, Hans Juncker produced his first altar for the village church of Darstadt (Ochsenfurt), which he confidently finished with his signature, his age and the year 1598. Art historians describe him as a 'precocious wunderkind'. The palace museum in Aschaffenburg holds Germany's most extensive collection of works by the artist and his contemporaries. The exhibition features important works that were damaged during the Second World War but have since been restored and are now back on public display.
With its extensive stucco work, the deconsecrated church building of the Aschaffenburg Jesuits today provides an exceptional setting for exhibitions. Four times a year, it presents exhibitions dedicated to nationally and internationally known artists of the classical modern period and to 20th and 21st century art movements.
The Gentil House was built in the 1920s by Aschaffenburg industrialist and art enthusiast Anton Gentil to house his extensive collection of works. In 1949 he bequeathed the house and its collection to the town of Aschaffenburg.
Emulating the artist villas of the 19th century, the Gentil House reflects the personality of its originator and still retains the character of a private collection. The collection includes medieval sculptures, paintings and folk ceramics as well as works by Anton Gentil's artist friends. You will also see oriental pieces and works by the collector himself. The interior furnishings of the house have remained unchanged to this day.
If you prefer your art more modern, here is a selection of Aschaffenburg's galleries that span a wide range of contemporary styles:
Andrea Müller and Helmut Massenkeil are two freelance artists who have opened up their studio workshop in Aschaffenburg's old quarter, offering visitors an insight into arts and crafts. In the tranquil outside space you'll find sculptures in ceramic, bronze and iron, while in the gallery next door there are modern handcrafted bowls, vases and crockery of every kind imaginable.
Werkstatt-Galerie, Andrea Müller und Helmut Massenkeil, Stiftsgasse 10, 63739 Aschaffenburg
www.werkstatt-galarie.de, Telefon +49.6021.27974
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-2pm
Kornhäuschen is a historic building in the vicinity of the castle Schloss Johannisburg which now houses a non-commercial space for contemporary art projects that push the boundaries. Every year the gallery hosts six exhibitions by local artists as well as artists from abroad. The exhibitions can be viewed from outside through large windows. Alternatively appointments can be made for a private tour.
Established in 2000, Galerie 99 presents a collection that almost exclusively comprises modern Chinese art – a programme that makes it one of the leading galleries of its kind in Europe.
The exhibitions (roughly ten per year) focus on ink wash pictures as well as paintings in oil and acrylic. The spacious gallery offers ample room to present the diversity of Chinese art.
Opening times: Monday & Tuesday by appointment
Wednesday-Friday: 2-7pm, Saturday 11am-4pm, Sunday 3-6pm
KunstSalon Aschaffenburg brings art to the wider Aschaffenburg region and also provides a meeting place for creative individuals. The architecturally striking interior incorporates an exhibition space for large paintings and sculptures. Through its art-focused initiatives and events, KunstSalon is raising awareness of the importance of culture in Aschaffenburg.
Since it was founded in 1991 Aschaffenburg's Neuer Kunstverein art association has mounted over 90 exhibitions and organised numerous events and initiatives, demonstrating that provocative and ambitious displays of contemporary art are also important in smaller towns.
Between 1993 and 1996 the association hosted its exhibitions at the Kunstraum am Rathaus on Theaterplatz square and at the Jesuit Church Art Gallery. It switched to the KunstLANDing exhibition house in December 1998 – and also regularly displays installations in public spaces in the town.
Opening times: Tuesday 2-7pm, Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm
Take inspiration from our wide range of originals, prints, paintings, sculptures and graphic works. For over 25 years we have been feeding people's fascination for art and for creative framing techniques. In our gallery you'll find pictures by James Rizzi, Udo Lindenberg and Otto Waalkes to name but a few. In our framing workshop, the boss himself frames your prized artworks. Whether it's a child's drawing, a football shirt, a holiday photo or an original piece, we will find the perfect frame.
Galerie MUSCHIK, Roßmarkt 37, 63739 Aschaffenburg, www.galerie-muschik.de
Telefon +49.6021.454708, firstname.lastname@example.org
This glass studio started life in Aschaffenburg over 30 years ago as a craft glazier's workshop and has since come to specialise in leaded stained glass. Since 2001, when the workshop moved to new premises in a historical building on Karlstrasse, the studio has also displayed arts and crafts from other disciplines. Most of the works on show are by regional artists.
Glasstudio Bergmann, Karlstraße 1, 63739 Aschaffenburg, www.glasstudio-bergmann.de
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday 9am-noon & 2-6pm, Saturday 9am-1pm or by appointment (please call to arrange)
The Cabinet of Graphic Arts is housed in a former apothecary shop and presents an extensive collection of historic prints and letters from the town's history. On display are town views as copper or steel engravings, original letters written by archbishops, kings and emperors as well as their portraits as prints.
Graphik-Cabinet , Dalbergstraße 11, 63739 Aschaffenburg, www.graphikcabinet.de
Opening times: Wednesday - Friday 2pm - 6pm