This review written years ago disappeared somewhere when VT reorganized the tip groups of Berlin.
I rewrote it under the appropriate group of things to do.
The new Gemäldegalerie of Berlin was for me an extraordinary discovery which I visited twice since the opening in 1998.
Among the European galleries with paintings between the 14th and 18th century, I rate the Gemäldegalerie in third position just after the National Gallery of London and the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. The museum is also very comfortable to visit (no mass tourism yet!).
Some highlights: the Flemish "Primitives" with J. Van Eyck, Van der Weyden and one of the finest portraits of the Flemish school "Portrait of a Young Women" by Petrus Christus (1410-1473).
The Italian renaissance is very well represented mainly with the Florentine and Venetian painters; look at this portrait in profile of a young woman by Domenico Veneziano (1410-1461).
These portraits of women sustain the comparison with "Mona Lisa - La Joconde".
The German school is of course present with Cranach, Dürer, Hollbein, and Altdorfer.
Also a very rich collection of Dutch painters of the 17th c.: two Vermeer's, 16 Rembrandt, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals.
The icon of the museum is the famous painting "Dutch Proverbs" from Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) (see also my comment about P. Bruegel on Vienna's KHM room X).
Open 10 - 18 h, Thursday 10 - 22 h. Closed on Monday.
Price: 8 €; reduced 4 €.
It was my third visit to this museum and my enthusiasm already expressed here in 2006 has not wavered.
The Gemäldegalerie is and remains for me one of the four best museums of ancient paintings in Europe with the National Gallery in London, the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The Gemäldegalerie is full of large and small wonders. My origins orient me to the "Flemish "Primitives" who had nothing of primitive but were in fact revolutionary pioneers by developing space and perspective in the pictorial art.
I found here works with such perceptiveness and sensitivity that one can only stop and admire. Two of them are what in French we use to name "coups de cœur" special favorites:
"Young Woman" by Rogier van der Weyden 1440 and another female portrait by the Flemish painter Petrus Christus (1470). These two portraits can compete with the Mona Lisa!
The Dutch Golden Age is well represented by traditional marine landscapes and of course two Vermeer; very few museums have two of his paintings!
I also particularly liked "Boy with Flute" by Frans Hals and cabaret scenes of Jan Steen.
From the Italian school are on display several Botticelli's. A Venus and Virgin with child and St John showing the same model. More extraordinary this portrait of "Young woman from profile."
For me the centerpiece of the museum is the famous painting "Flemish Proverbs" from Pieter Bruegel the Elder showing more than 100 proverbs and sayings, many of which have no place in modern Dutch, have been identified. The majority of them describe actions that are unreasonable or immoral
Unfortunately the proverbs are explained only in German. On Wikipedia one can find under Nederlandse Spreekwoorden or Proverbes flamands or Netherlandish Proverbs the detailed explanation of each of them as represented in the painting.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10-18 h, Thu 10-22 h
Admission Fee: 8,- Euro, red. 4,- Euro
Berlin's finest collection of Old Masters: Giotto to Goya, with stops at Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Canaletto, among others.
The museum is housed in a self-effacing structure which might not put on much of a face to the exterior world, but which offers optimal conditions for viewing the artworks inside.
Caravaggio's "Cupid Victorious" is one of the most famous works in the collections, but there are familiar masterpieces in nearly every room of the gallery.
If you get hungry from encountering art, the museum cafe has an excellent salad bar!
For art lovers this is a treat. Lots of European paintings from various periods (middle ages to 18th century) and countries (Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, England), displayed in spacious halls which enhance the experience.
My favorites were the old German masters (Cranach, Durer), a few works by Rembrandt and two by Vermeer ("The Wine Glass") and a few by Caravaggio. Raphael and Rubens are also represented. If you want a didactic tour take an audioguide.
Although the museums on Museuminsel enjoy more popularity, don't neglect the Kulturforum and its picture gallery!
A star in the Kulturform arena, the Old Master's Picture Gallery is housed in a massive modern building designed by Munich architects Hilmer and Satler. The contemporary exterior is nothing special at the entrance and little more than a big box around the sides. But the spacious lobby and exhibit rooms ( all 72 ) are large and well lit. Sculptures fill a massive columned entrance hall with a central water feature. The museum is strikingly not crowded - we just walked right in with no wait or line. The walls of the exhibit rooms are lined with fabric and the paintings are spread far apart allowing plenty of time for observation in peace and quiet. Even the occasional tour groups in the major rooms are hushed. The literature suggests that to visit each room would be a hike exceeding 2 kilometers. With over 1000 paintings, this museum is huge.
The origins date to 1830 as Prussian kings began accumulating fine art and the collection has been displayed in many builldings. After WWII, it was split between east and west, reunited after the fall of the GDR. Sadly, it is estimated that over 400 large pieces disappeared along the way.
The roster of masters is unending, with works from the 13th - 18 Century. In the center is a 6-sided room with 16 Rembrandts. There are large collections of Italian, French, and particularly Dutch - Flemish painters as well as obviously a great contingent of German painters. The 18th C alone occupies 5 large rooms and multiple smaller chambers with Gainsborough, Watteau, and Canaletto. The earliest sacred works go back to Fra Filippo Lippi. Durer, both Cranachs, Holbein, Vermeer, Raphael, Caraveggio - why go on?
Were we to revisit, we would plan ahead and see only one section at a time - the museum is overwhelming.
Breathtaking art and wonderful spaces. We loved this museum. It has a meditation space (pictured) and the collections are all wonderfully placed. Cranach, Durer, and Rembrandt are standouts, but all the pieces are exceptional. There is a free audio guide available in German and English.
We spent a solid couple of hours here and then we went upstairs to the Kunstgewerbemuseum (free) of illustrated bibles and other pieces.
For a taste of what's inside the Gemaldegalerie, do an image search on google for gemaldegalerie berlin. You'll be convinced to go!
It's open from 10 - 18 Uhr during the week (not Mondays) and until 20 Uhr on Weekends.
Kulturforum was the once greatcentre of cultural life in West Berlin, although nowadays the attention has shifted back to the traditional centre around Museumsinsel and the Unten den Linden. What remains at Kulturforum is Berlin's re-united collection of art, the Gemaldegalerie Altes Meister, containing a wonderful collection of old masters. The most spectacular for me were the Bardi Altarpeice by Botticelli, Portrait of a Young Girl by Petrus Christus and Madonna with the Evangelists by Tintoretto.
Located in the Kulturforum just West of Potsdamplatz, the museum features an excellent collection of European art. Works by Bosch, Durer, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio and a rare Vermeer "Glass of Wine"