Mr and Mrs Putin were accompanied by Dr Kurt Biedenkopf, Minister-President of Saxony, and Ingrid Biedenkopf while touring several halls of this exceptional museum in Dresden, a city on the banks of the Elbe River.
President Putin signed the Golden Book of Distinguished Guests of the Government of Saxony.
The Russian side returned three paintings which had been lost after World War II in the presence of Mr Putin. They are: “On the Seashore” (“Am Seestrand”) by Pieter Mulier the Elder (middle of the 17th century) and two masterpieces by Dutch school artists, “Girl on a Man’s Knees” (“Ein Maedchen auf den Knien eines Mannes”) by Gerrit Lundens (second half of the 17th century) and “Prayer in a Red Mosque” by Max Slevogt (1914).
These paintings were discovered in Russia by chance after a local patron of the arts found out that they had previously belonged to the Dresden Picture Gallery. They were subsequently returned to Germany.
Dr Hans-Joachim Meyer, Minister of Science and Art of Saxony, cordially thanked the Russian Government for returning the paintings to the Dresden Picture Gallery and said this gesture highlighted their great mutual trust. The Minister expressed hope that the issue of restitution would be settled positively.