Wand mit verschiedenen Bildern
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Herbert Boswank

Kupferstich-Kabinett (Museum of Prints, Drawings and Photographs)

Sheets of paper that mean the world: The Kupferstich-Kabinett holds a vast array of works on paper ready to be discovered. Alongside the copper engravings, or Kupferstiche, which give the collection its name, there are drawings, watercolours, etchings, lithographs as well as illustrated books, posters and photographs. Both the quality and the scope of the collection, with its more than half a million works, make the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett one of the most significant museums of its kind in the world.

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Among the more than twenty thousand artists who are represented here are Old and New Masters such as Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz and Pablo Picasso, but also contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter and Wolfgang Tillmans. The selection is not restricted to artists from Europe: Japanese, Chinese and Indian works are also part of the collection that spans 800 years of art history.

Männer sitzen auf Ungeheuern, diese halb Pferd halb Fisch, und bekämpfen sich
Andrea Mantegna, Kampf der Meeresgötter (linke Hälfte), Mitte 1470er Jahre (?) Kupferstich, Kupferstich-Kabinett


The richness of this collection looms large, yet the individual works are marked by their lightness. It is a special quality of works on paper that they may be transported easily and are a relatively affordable medium. With them, ideas for images could be taken along on travels and artists could get to work anywhere, independently of their patrons. Rembrandt, for example, immortalized his wife with Saskia im Bett (Saskia in Bed) around 1635–36 on a postcard-sized sheet. In this case he did not have a painting in mind, but wanted to preserve the intimate scene for its own sake. He completed a good hundred such sketches of his family in his lifetime; they are like short diary entries.

Zeichnung einer Dame im Bett
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Saskia im Bett, um 1638 Feder und Pinsel in Eisengallustinte, laviert, weiße Kreide
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Works on paper require special measures to protect them. The fragile material should normally not be exposed to light or else it will yellow and fade. For this reason, the museum presents a selection of works in themed temporary exhibitions in its halls on the upper floor of the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace).

Quader mit Tür und Fenstern und einigen viereckigen, angemalten Flächen
Piet Mondrian, Farbentwurf für den Wohnraum Ida Bienert, Froschperspektive, 1926 Deckfarben, Tusche; 37,6 x 56 cm

Public study room

For the many works that are not on show, there is a better solution: In the public study room of the Kabinett, visitors can, by reservation, view any of the individual sheets, with only a few exceptions. Works may be selected with the help of study room staff or using the online collection – otherwise, there are always preselected works to enjoy.

To the study room

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Der Studiensaal des Kupferstich-Kabinetts Dresden


Exhibition list

Further Exhibitions

Grünes Gewölbe

in Residenzschloss


in Schloss Pillnitz

gelber Kasten mit vier Füßen

The new Hall of the Giants

in Residenzschloss

Aufwendig verzierter Harnisch, große Federn am Helm angebracht
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