The Graphics and Painting Collection brings together what is likely the most significant and comprehensive compilation illustrating Munich through the ages. Like a picture archive, the collection preserves the documents needed to produce a visual chronology of the city. Its materials range from maps to cityscape paintings, pictures of major events and portraits, through to the menu from the Hofbräuhaus inn. The prints and drawings alone number about 250,000. Academics and researchers from around the world congregate in the Münchner Stadtmuseum's Study Hall to peruse this treasure trove (advance registration required).
With some 18,000 separate items, the collection's historic centerpiece is the "Pictorial Chronicle of the City of Munich" created by Joseph Maillinger (1831-1884). Popularly known as the Maillinger Collection, it not only contains outstanding drawings and watercolors by well-known artists like Johann Georg von Dillis, Gustav Wilhelm Kraus and Franz Xaver Nachtmann. It also features complete sets of architectural drawings, including the plans for the Walhalla Memorial by Leo von Klenze. Further items have been added since the museum was opened almost 125 years ago. These include the collections of Franz Xaver Zettler and Carlo Proebst with their unique documentations of, and examples from, the earliest days of photography in Munich.