The Staatsgalerie houses around 1.000 French hand drawings and some 10.000 prints from before 1800, with a focus on works created during the reigns of Kings Louis XIV, XV and XVI, which tell of the splendour of these epochs: Numerous castles, palaces, churches and monasteries were decorated with large-scale programmes, and portraiture also reached a peak during this period.
Among the landscape artists, Nicolas Poussin and his brother-in-law Gaspard Dughet take centre stage. Although they worked mainly in Rome, they nevertheless left a lasting mark on French art with their themes of all-encompassing nature, into which even man-made architecture fits as if it had grown. Their landscapes are not to be understood topographically, but reflect the ideal idea of the mythical land of longing, Arcadia.
The collection complex with around 120 drawings by Michel-François Dandré-Bardon and about 150 sheets by Nicolas Guibal is unique in the world. Dandré-Bardon's works represent the entire spectrum of courtly and bourgeois art in 18th-century Paris. Nicolas Guibal, court painter to Württemberg since 1755, was in the service of Duke Carl Eugene and decorated the New Palace in Stuttgart as well as other palaces in the surrounding area with his paintings and frescoes.
As in paintings and drawings, the art of the genre plays a special role in French prints, in which Jean-Honoré Fragonard in particular made a name for himself. The engravings of Gabriel Huquier after François Boucher also found their admirers. Graphic art also acquired a special status with the glorification of the respective French kings in a variety of ways.