Berlin is a city of museums, where an entire island has been allocated to the most status of them. The German capital houses an immense number of masterpieces of world art brought from all over the world as far back as the century before last, and from year to year the collections are replenished with contemporary art.
But the main thing in a museum quest in Berlin is not even the ability to visit all important museums during a short trip, but to find a museum masterpiece in its place. Museums are closed for reconstruction, new ones are built, expositions move from one place to another, museums are united and divided. In order not to get into a mess, it is better to look in advance on the institution's website, whether it is closed and whether its treasures are in place.
Old Museum/Altes Museum
The content of the article:
- 1 Old Museum/Altes Museum
- 2 Pergamon Museum/Pergamon
- 3 New Museum/Neues Museum
- 4 Old National Gallery/Alte Nationalgalerie
- 5 Bode Museum
- 6 Berliner Gemäldegalerie
- 7 Museum of the Most Group/Brücke-Museum
- 8 Museum of Applied Arts/Kunstgewerbemuseum
- 9 KW Institute for Contemporary Art
- 10 Artists' House Bethanien/Künstlerhaus Bethanien
- 11 Museum für Fotografie
- 12 Schloss Charlottenburg
- 12.0.1 www.museumsportal-berlin.de/de/museen/schloss-charlottenburg-stiftung-preuische-schlosser-und-garten-berlin-brandenburg/ Charlottenburg Palace is an example of exquisite palace architecture, where you can see the luxurious life of the German aristocracy, who surrounded themselves with museum-level works of art. The palace was built at the direction of the wife of Frederick I, Queen Sofia Charlotte as a summer residence. The entrance to the castle is decorated with a 48-meter dome with a gilded statue of Fortune. One of the most luxurious halls of the palace is King Frederick's reception hall with high vaults and lovely bas-reliefs. The porcelain room displays a grandiose collection of Chinese porcelain. Rare plants are planted in the greenhouse; concerts are often held here. The Schinkel Pavilion, which was built by the chief architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1825, houses a collection of drawings from the early 19th century. The park contains the mausoleum with the ashes of Queen Louise of Prussia, Frederick William III and other members of the royal family.
- 13 Martin-Gropius-Bau
- 14 Jewish Museum/Jüdisches Museum Berlin
- 15 See also:
The Old Museum houses a splendid collection of antique art. It got its name not by chance – it was this institution that was built the very first on the Museum Island back in 1822-1830. True, it was originally called the Royal, because it was intended for the art collection of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. The majestic neoclassical building with Ionic capitals was built by the most famous German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
The first floor is occupied by the ancient art of Greece, the second is given to the art of the Etruscans and Romans. The most famous exhibit in the museum is the Green Caesar, a bust of green slate. It was acquired back in 1767 for King Frederick II of Prussia in Paris. Nearby is a bust of Cleopatra, Caesar's beloved. Here you can also see magnificent Fayum portraits, Roman mosaics, bas-reliefs and Greek vases.
This is the most visited museum in Berlin, which unites three collections at once – the Antique collection, the Museum of Art of Western Asia and the Islamic Museum. The main treasure here is the Pergamon Altar, for which the museum building was built. Fragments of the original altar were taken from Turkey by the German engineer Karl Human in the 19th century, and then assembled into a single composition by German restorers.
Secondly, it houses a collection of the art of Western Asia, the most famous monument of which is the Babylonian “gold in azure” – the Ishtar Gate and the Glazed Brick Procession Road with animals of unprecedented beauty. The lacy stone frieze from the Mshatta Umayyad Palace is another famous exhibit of the museum.
New Museum/Neues Museum
The New Museum houses a collection of ancient Egyptian art, as well as primitive art and art of early history. Millions of tourists go to the museum to see the bust of Nefertiti. The most famous Egyptian sculpture, over 3000 years old, was found by Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912. However, in addition to the one-eyed queen (why the bust of Nefertiti has one eye, there are many interpretations), the museum is full of other rarities. It houses a unique collection of papyri, as well as Egyptian figurines, sarcophagi, and priests' clothes. Here you can also see the tools and household utensils of Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. The most famous piece of the archaeological collection is the “golden hat”, a cone-shaped cap that belonged to a Bronze Age priest.
The museum got its name because the “Old” was overcrowded. Therefore, in 1843-1855 a new building in the style of late classicism was built by the architect Friedrich August Stühler. The museum was badly destroyed during the Second World War, was not rebuilt for a long time and was named “the most beautiful ruins of Berlin”. The restoration began only in 1986 and ended in 2009. The competition for the renovation was won by British architect David Chipperfield, who erected a glass dome and installed a wide staircase running through all the floors.
Old National Gallery/Alte Nationalgalerie
The Old National Gallery houses art from the 19th – 20th centuries. Gloomy German romantics coexist here with sunny French impressionists. Caspar David Friedrich's Monk by the Sea and Karl Friedrich Schinkel's Gothic Cathedral on a Rock are responsible for the gloomy German romanticism. And “Isle of the Dead” by Arnold Böcklin for the no less “Gothic” German symbolism. “At the Conservatory” by Edouard Manet and “View of the Vétheuil” by Claude Monet represent cheerful French painting. Here you can also find works by John Constable, Gustave Courbet and the artists of the Barbizon School. In addition, the gallery houses the largest collection of the pride of German painting by Adolf Menzel, including his masterpiece The Iron Rolling Plant.
The museum's collection began with a donation from banker Johann Heinrich Wagener, who donated his 262 painting collection to the state in 1861. Today the museum has 1,800 paintings and 1,500 sculptures. The building in the style of a Roman temple with an apse was designed in 1865 by Friedrich August Stühler after a sketch by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and built in 1869-1876 under the direction of Heinrich Strack. During World War II, the gallery building was badly damaged, like many other museums. The gallery partially resumed its work in 1949, and the reconstruction continued until 1969. And only in 1998-2001 the museum was completely restored.
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
The Bode Museum includes three museums at once – the Museum of Byzantine Art, the Mint Cabinet and the Sculptural Collection. The Museum of Byzantine Art contains Roman and Byzantine antiquities of the 3rd-15th centuries: sarcophagi, sculptures, icons, mosaics, and religious objects. The Mint Cabinet houses the largest numismatic collection: 4,000 items out of 500,000 in storage. The sculptural collection is one of the largest collections of European sculpture – from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. After the war, the collection was divided between West and East Berlin. So, for several decades, the composition “Triumph of the Cross” from the Church of St. Moritz in Naumburg was kept in different places: Maria – in the Museum Center in Dahlem, and Christ – on the Museum Island. The combined collection has been on display at the Bode Museum since 2006. The Italian Renaissance is represented by terracotta by Luca delo Robbia and sculptures by Donatello, German Gothic by wooden sculptures by Tilman Riemenschneider, classicism by sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon. From its opening in 1904 until 1945, the museum bore the name of Kaiser Friedrich, and its current name was given in 1956 in honor of the director of state museum collections Wilhelm von Bode, whose art collection laid the foundation for the museum's collection.
The Berlin Picture Gallery is a mecca of European painting, where the works of Titian, Caravaggio, Bosch, Bruegel, Rubens, Durer are kept. The gallery's collection contains as many as sixteen paintings by Rembrandt and five Madonnas by Raphael! Two kilometers of brilliant art – German, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Spanish and English painting from the 13th to the 18th century is located on an area of 7000 sq. m – 3500 paintings in total. “Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci” and “Portrait of Giovanni Medici” by Sandro Botticelli, “Cupid” by Caravaggio, “Dutch Proverbs” by Pieter Bruegel, “Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini” by Jan van Eyck, “St. John on Patmos” by Hieronymus Bosch, “Portrait of George Giese” by Hans Holbein – all these masterpieces of world painting can be seen here. The collection originally belonged to the Berlin State Museum and was founded in 1830. The current modern gallery building was completed in 1998.
Museum of the Most Group/Brücke-Museum
The Most Group Museum is a chamber building located in the cozy Dahlem district of Berlin on the outskirts of the Grunwald forest. It houses a collection of German Expressionism, the main representatives of which were Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein. The museum was opened in 1967 – the basis of its collection was the gift of the artist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Erich Heckel made a notable contribution. As a result, the museum has collected a permanent exhibition of 400 paintings, sculptures, watercolors and lithographs. Besides the permanent exhibition, which occupies only 500 sq. m, which is quite a bit by museum standards, temporary exhibitions are held here. The works of the first German modernists, who founded their association in Dresden in 1905 and moved to Berlin six years later, still look fresh and modern. The screaming bright paintings of the Expressionists were an expression of the spirit of the new era, creating an image of a fast-moving century and a portrait of a modern man living at the end of the eras.
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Museum of Applied Arts/Kunstgewerbemuseum
The collection of the museum is a collection of rarities of the world decorative and applied art from the medieval Welf Cross and Meissen porcelain to the Casablanca shelf by Ettore Sottsass. Furniture, fashion, porcelain, glass, textiles from the early Sednek Age to the present day are collected in a modern exposition. Among the masterpieces of the Middle Ages – a gold purse with precious stones of the 8th century from the monastery of St. Dionysius in Anger, a font from the Hoard of Welfs, a portable altar made by a monk and enamel Albertus from Cologne. The collection coexists with precious Renaissance chests and majolica, exquisite Baroque wardrobes and cabinets, rocaille mirrors, and even a chinoiserie-style room from Palazzo Granieri in Turin has been transported. Among the tops of the 19th-20th century collection are vases by Emile Gallé and Tiffany, Art Deco and Art Nouveau furniture. The exposition also includes classics of modern design – furniture by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer. A separate gallery is dedicated to the history of fashion and costume.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Kunst-Werke, or KW for short, is one of the most experimental and high-profile art venues in Berlin. It hosts exhibitions of the Berlin Biennale, but the rest of the time they prefer to show art with a socio-political bias. The Berlin Art Factory was opened by the now famous curator Klaus Biesenbach and a group of his associates immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At that time, the area of Mitte, where the abandoned margarine factory was located, was chosen by free artists, and the medical student Biesenbach became part of the local bohemia. However, KW did not remain in the status of a free-loving squat for long, already in the late 1990s it was overhauled. The 1st Berlin Biennale in 1999 was opened in the renovated “factory”. Today, the four floors of the center house exhibition halls, artist studios, a library and a café designed by Dan Graham.
Artists' House Bethanien/Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Bethanien is a large art center that exhibits contemporary artists. It is located in Berlin's most informal district, Kreuzberg, in a former neo-Gothic hospital that retains the aura of romanticism. Bethanien includes not only exhibition halls, but also studios-residences of artists, where even our Oleg Kulik and Anatoly Osmolovsky have visited. The center still holds the flag of one of Berlin's most informal venues, where the spirit of anarchy smolders. At one time, squatters settled in this place, who were eventually evicted – however, there are many other squats around the art center. In addition to exhibitions, Bethanien hosts conferences, film screenings, concerts, and parties attended by the inhabitants of Kreuzberg. The local restaurant offers good and inexpensive food.
Museum für Fotografie
The Berlin Museum of Photography combines two institutions: the State Collection of Photography at the Art Library and the Helmut Newton Foundation, which occupies two whole floors of the museum. The library's collection contains an archive of art photography from pictorealism to our time, a total of 50,000 items. However, most come here nevertheless to see the masterpieces of the master of fashion photography. Portraits of stars and glamorous models by Helmut Newton occupy a large part of the exhibition space. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary photographers.
Charlottenburg Palace is an example of exquisite palace architecture, where you can see the luxurious life of the German aristocracy, who surrounded themselves with museum-level works of art. The palace was built at the direction of the wife of Frederick I, Queen Sofia Charlotte as a summer residence. The entrance to the castle is decorated with a 48-meter dome with a gilded statue of Fortune. One of the most luxurious halls of the palace is King Frederick's reception hall with high vaults and lovely bas-reliefs. The porcelain room displays a grandiose collection of Chinese porcelain. Rare plants are planted in the greenhouse; concerts are often held here. The Schinkel Pavilion, which was built by the chief architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1825, houses a collection of drawings from the early 19th century. The park contains the mausoleum with the ashes of Queen Louise of Prussia, Frederick William III and other members of the royal family.
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart
Hamburger Bahnhof is Berlin's largest museum of modern art. Pop art, minimalism, conceptualism, arte povera, postmodernity – this is the home of a real art encyclopedia dating back to the 1960s. “Sleigh” by Joseph Beuys, “Mao” by Andy Warhol, “At the beginning of the leg” by Martin Kippenberger – the Hamburger exposition is full of textbook items. Although the museum fully presents the works of artists from different countries, the German ones still have a numerical advantage. Here, perhaps, is the best collection of Joseph Beuys, several installations, objects are recreated, his media archive is kept. Contemporary German painting is represented by works by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Imi Knobel. In addition, the museum has an excellent selection of German photography – from the Becher towers to the large-format panoramas of Andreas Gursky.
The museum itself is located in the monumental building of the former train station. Back in the 40s of the XIX century, trains went to Hamburg through the high arched gates, but already in 1906 the Transport Museum was opened here. The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum opened only in the 1990s after a thorough reconstruction of the building. The collection is based on several of the largest private collections: Berlin construction magnate Erich Marx, Friedrich Christian Flick (grandson of a German industrialist convicted in Nuremberg), and gallery owner and publisher Egidio Mardzona. The museum houses a bookstore and a popular health food restaurant opened by TV chef Sara Wiener.
Martin-Gropius-Bau is one of the most popular showrooms for contemporary art. He does not have a permanent collection, but Martin-Gropius is a champion in blockbuster exhibitions. Among the main hits are exhibitions by Olafur Eliasson, Frida Kahlo, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Paul Klee, David Bowie, as well as Berlin-Moscow. It also hosts exhibitions of the Berlin Biennale, and occasionally hosts archaeological exhibitions. In early 2018, Stephanie Rosenthal became the director of this exhibition complex, who plans to organize a series of exhibitions dedicated to the history of the house, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The three-story building, built in the 1880s, has a truly amazing history. The magnificent neo-Renaissance building was built by architects Heino Schmiden and Martin Gropius, uncle of the famous Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. For many years the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts worked here. During the war, the building was badly damaged, and since it was located right on the border of the Berlin Wall, it was not renovated until 1981. Then the Museum of Primitive and Oriental Art settled here. And only in 1999, after another restoration, Martin-Gropius was retrained into an exhibition hall of contemporary art.
Jewish Museum/Jüdisches Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum is a memorial museum that preserves the sad pages of German history. Visitors can feel the despair experienced by the prisoners of concentration camps. The minimalist building, reminiscent of a barrack, was built by the architect Daniel Libeskind. There are almost no right angles in it: floors and walls are inclined, creating a feeling of insecurity. The road sometimes passes through narrow corridors, abutting dead ends and mines. Steel walls and embrasures of windows are all around, through which the skylights of the sky can be seen. The building can only be entered through a long, narrow underground passage starting at the adjacent Collegium House.
Everything in the museum is subordinated to the idea of grief. One of the exits leads to the Garden of Exile, where there are 49 six-meter concrete pillars, on the tops of which are planted olive trees. No less sad feelings are evoked by the Holocaust Tower, an enclosed empty space with high black walls and a small gap at the very top. The permanent exhibition is built in contrast to the sinister architecture. Here the history of the Jewish people is told through things. Furniture, photographs, household items, clothing, art from Jewish homes recreate the atmosphere of a cozy life destroyed by the Nazis.
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