Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie is known for its outstanding collection of European paintings from the thirteenth to eighteenth century. Each chapter in this book is dedicated to one painting from the collection. In the breadth of this idiosyncratic selection, painting, as it discovers itself becomes a medium for the formulation of modern subjectivity. Each painting in focus unfolds its own making and its artistic concerns as they reflect contemporary issues, today. What are the paradoxes within which art is made by women? How does the primordial drive to destroy works of art affect today’s art discourse? Where did the modern struggle of painting against the picture begin? Why does the Wild Man from early German Renaissance still haunt us? And why doesn’t it matter whether Jan Vermeer used an optical device for his paintings? Twelve Paintings highlights the currentness of the Old Masters.