Duke Christian Ludwig II loved art, collecting and buying it where it was booming during his lifetime: in Holland and Flanders. Thus the heart of our stock of paintings consists of an exquisite collection of Dutch and Flemish works from the so-called "Golden Age". Famous masters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Paulus Potter, Frans van Mieris the Elder, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens and Carel Fabritius permit us to have highly varied insights into life in the 17th century and attest to the high painting culture at that time.
Some of the eminent pieces in the collection from the 18th and 19th centuries consist of works by the French animal painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry, who painted especially for the Versailles and Marly castles, together with works from artistic centres such as in Berlin or Dresden, from Antoine Pesne and Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich among others.
In a cabinet room on the first floor, Baroque art pieces made of ivory are on display.
The ground floor is reserved for art of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as for alternating special exhibitions. Schwerin’s Marcel Duchamp collection, which with 90 pieces is unique in terms of its completeness, covers almost all of the phases and aspects of the artist who, alongside Picasso, was one of the most decisive inspirers of art in the 20th century. This collection is supplemented with pieces by John Cage, Sigmar Polke, Rachel Whiteread and Icke Winzer. Since August 2013, the gallery has housed the sole collection in northern Germany of works by Günther Uecker.