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Art & culture

Though known mainly for the more harrowing aspects of its recent past, this town on the Amper river, just outside Munich, has also long been a insider's tip for culture. Dachau, along with Worpswede, made a name for itself as one of the most important artists' colonies in late-19th century Europe.
Dachau artists' colony
During the 19th century, artists were drawn to Dachau by the beautiful moorland scenery. Many settled in the town, and it soon became an artists' colony. Captivated by the subtle nuances of colour and light of the Dachau countryside, they took their canvases out into the open – ushering in the era of painting en plein air. The first of a long line of artists to recognise the beauty of the local landscape was Johann Georg von Dillis, while Christian Morgenstern was among the first to reside permanently in the town. The years between 1890 and 1914 are regarded as the Golden Age of Dachau as an artists' town. Today, a selection of works from this time is displayed in the Picture Gallery.
Parish Church of St. James
This catholic parish church ranks alongside the abbey churches in Indersdorf and Altomünster as one of the most important in the region. Although the original building is thought to date back to around 1240, it has only borne the name of its patron saint since 1390. The church as it stands today was erected in 1625 in the late-Renaissance style seldom found in Old Bavaria. Its wide central nave is flanked by two narrow aisles, while large statues of the twelve apostles, sculpted by Konstantin Pader in 1625, adorn the columns and small chancel. The two side altars are decorated with oil paintings from the Nazarene movement of the 19th century, and their predellas display skeletal reliquaries of the catacomb saints.
Picture Gallery
Established in 1905, Dachau Picture Gallery is situated in the heart of the old town. Showcasing around 200 selected works, it charts the history of plein air painting from its origins in the mid-19th century to the recent past. On display are works by both local painters and more widely known artists, including Carl Spitzweg, Fritz von Uhde, Adolf Hölzl, Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth, all of whom drew inspiration from the beautiful Dachau countryside.
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