This first visit to the sculpture collection of the Bode Museum was well above my expectations.
Years ago I discovered the medieval sculptures at the Cluny Museum in Paris and since than I'm fascinated by this art on stone but even more on wood. I'm glad to say that the Bode Museum is the alter ego of the Cluny Museum for sculptures.
The Sculpture Collection at the Bode Museum by reuniting several dispersed works is one of Germany's largest collections going from the early Middle Ages to the late 18th c.
The visit starts with some spectacular large wooden sculptures of knight-saints by Martin Zürn from the altar of the church in Wasserburg am Inn dating from 1638. The knight on the right is Saint Florian, the one on the left must be Saint Andrew holding a flag with the cross of Burgundy.
On display are numerous pieces of Italian sculpture by different schools, mainly from the period of the Renaissance.
I liked this "Princess of Urbino" and a "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" in limewood by G. Giuliani around 1725, but my preference went to the German sculptures less known for me than the Italians so that I will write a specific comment on some of my "coups de cœur" favorites.
I discovered with enthusiasm several late Gothic sculptures from Tilman Riemenschneider. This was a great "Meister" one of the best sculptors around 1500. He was active in Würzburg; his atelier of sculptures and woodcarving employed up to forty apprentices.
The faces are very expressive showing inner emotions.
Best known here is the "St George and the Dragon" but I prefer the "Four Evangelists" and the so peaceful "Angels singing and playing music" all limewood carved.
From other parts of Germany I found these three busts carved from peer tree wood in Augsburg and this marvelous "Holy Kinship" carved around 1515 by Hans Thoman from Memmingen.
Original is this terracotta bust of a patrician from Nürnberg around 1570.
All this is just a small part from many sculptures. If you liked the Cluny museum in Paris I'm sure that you will not regret your visit to the Bode Museum.
When I looked at this sculpture of a "Screaming Woman" (photo 1°) I thought that I was no more in the department of medieval art but in a museum on modern art from the 19th even begin 20th century!
It is an amazing terracotta from the second half of the 16th c. Origin the Southern Netherlands (presently Belgium).
Continuing my visit I found other works of art from my country but more conventional like this altar piece from Antwerp and another one from Brussels. There was a time when my country exported a lot of altarpieces.
But I found more originality with these oak carved "Prophets" also made in Brussels around 1520 to end with these "Saint Ursula" and "Enthroned Virgin and Child" from 1490.
I hope to return.
It was my first visit. After long renovation works the museum opened in October 2006. The museum being one of decorative arts I had left it for my last morning in Berlin as a "second choice". I was wrong not only is the architecture and décor of the building from the early 1900s spectacular but the Numismatic Collection and Sculpture Collection are of outstanding quality. I did not visit the Museum of Byzantine Art by lack of time.
The museum has a triangular shape bordered by the two arms of the river Spree. The entrance is by the monumental Great Dome.
The Numismatic Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind with around 500.000 objects of which 5000 noteworthy are on display. I'm not an amateur of ancient coins but I'm not surprised that this collection owes its international renown to its diversity as well as the comprehensiveness of its coin series which range from the beginnings of coinage in the seventh century BC in Asia Minor to the contemporary coins and medals. They have 102.000 Greek coins and 50.000 from ancient Rome.
Most spectacular is a 100 kg fine gold 1 million Canadian dollars Maple Leaf. Five of these giant Maple Leaf coins were made in 2007. I wondered if this 100 kg coin was a real one and not a gilded copy but the guard told me it is real and on loan (Leihgabe) to the museum by a Mr. Boris Fuchsmann.
There are many gold coins in this museum so that I presume that it is well guarded.
In 2010 one of the five coins was sold at an auction and reached 4 million USD.
The Munzkabinett has an Online Catalogue http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de/ikmk/index.php?lang=en where you can see details of each piece of the collection.
Open: Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 18 h (Thursday 20 h). Closed on Monday.
Price: 8 €, reduced 4 €. Museumsinsel area ticket 14 €.
This Nationalgalerie on the Museumsinsel is called "Alte" not for the collection which is from the 19th century but for the building from around 1870. The collection of Ancient Paintings from the 14th to 18th century is located in the "Gemäldegalerie" a modern building at the Kulturforum Potsdammer Platz. At this Kulturforum stands also the Neue Nationalgalerie with 20th century works.
The paintings on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie are mainly from German painters but there are some very good works of French Impressionists. They were the main reason for my visit but very soon I got interested by the German painters especially the Realists and in another genre the Romanticism and Idealism schools.
On the first floor are on display a number of paintings with a fine sense of coloring of Adolph Menzel and Anton von Werner with subjects of Prussian history.
The 2nd floor shows a collection of high quality French Impressionist paintings. I much liked a beautiful Claude Monet "Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois à Paris" and an Edouard Manet "Jardin d'Hiver".
On this floor are on display works of Caspar David Friedrich the master of German Romantic art as well as fine landscapes.
The 3rd floor shows art of the Goethe era and paintings of German artists working in Rome. Biedermeier art is also represented here.
I found my visit well worth as I could enlarge my 19th century horizon of paintings schools.
I hope I will live long enough to see the end of the renovation works at what is going to be one of the cultural highlights of our old continent.
On my first visit in the early 1990s I saw the Pergamon Museum and part of the Altes Museum. My impression from outside looking at this DDR part of Berlin was that WW II had only just stopped!
On my second visit in the early 2000s I showed the Pergamon to my wife but we went to Charlottenburg to see the Egyptian museum.
On this third visit we could finally see the results of the renovation works at least inside the museums because outside works are still going on obliging visitors to approach the entrances by strange paths (Pergamon). "Bauwerke" everywhere as you can see from my pic.
The Neues Museum with the icon Nefertiti of the Egyptian collection and Early History of Europe is a must ( Nefertiti exhibition ).
The Pergamon museum is the most spectacular of the five with the Pergamon Altar , the market gate of Miletus and the Ishtargate of Babylon .
The Alte Nationalgalerie to discover with paintings of the 19th c. was for me an interesting introduction to German painters, showing also some French Impressionists.
We had no time (actually were too tired) to see the Altes Museum with its Antiquity collection.
Our last visit was to the Bode-Museum where we discovered medieval sculptures who made us feel enthusiast.
OPEN: Pergamon & Neues Museum. Every day 10 - 18 h.
Altes Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum & Bode-Museum are closed on Monday; Open other days 10 - 18 h.
This museum built around 1850 has been closed for 70 years and reopened in October 2009 after important reconstruction works.
Under one roof are now three separate collections:
The most important is the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection on levers 0, 1 and part of two.
The icon of this collection is the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti (room 210 - see my review Nefertiti exhibition .
The Egyptian collection is one of the three best Egyptian collections I have seen in Europe. Its shares this position with the Egyptian departments of Le Louvre and the British Museum.
Visiting Berlin without seeing the famous bust of Nefertiti would be as sad as visiting Paris without seeing La Joconde-Mona Lisa!
The collection consists of 45.000 objects. Most famous are the bust of Nefertiti, the sculpture with the head of Queen Tiy and the so called "Berlin Green Head". There is also a papyrus collection with 60.000 texts in various scripts.
The second collection is that of the Prehistory and Early History in Europe and neighbouring regions on part of level 1, 2 and level 3. Next to Greece and Rome there are interesting rooms about the Northern Neighbours of Rome. The icon of this part is the Roman bronze statue "Xantener Knaben" (Xanten Youth - room 201) from 1st c. AD.
Last is a collection of Classical Antiquities.
The visit of the Neues Museum needs 3 - 4 hours. Photos allowed except the Nefertiti part.
Open: Monday - Sunday 10 - 18 h. Thursday till 20 h.
Price: 14 € (including special Amarna - Nefertiti exhibition with time slot).
Since end 2009 the Egyptian collection is on display in the renovated Neues Museum on the Museumsinsel.
The icon of the museum is the bust of Nefertiti (ca.1370 - 1330 BC) the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton known for worshipping one god only, Aton the sun disc.
This bust, 50 cm high, is made of limestone covered with modeled gypsum. The eye is inlayed with crystal and the pupil attached with black colored wax. The second eye-inlay was never carried out. It is for me the most beautiful work of Egyptian art due to the fine modeling of the face and the preservation of the color. The bust was made as a model by the court sculptor Thutmosis
I like to compare Nefertiti with another museum icon, La Joconde. It's clear for me; I might fall in love with Nefertiti, not with Mona Lisa!
In the Neues Museum, Nefertiti has a room for herself and is now the highlight of a special exhibition "Im Licht von Amarna" that marks 100 Years of the discovery of the bust of Nefertiti on 6 December 1912 in the ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaton today known as Tell el-Amarna.
The exhibition details the discovery of the bust of Nefertiti by archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt during excavations in 1912 and 1913 on behalf of the Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. In 1920 the bust and all other objects were given to the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.
This special AMARNA exhibition is open from 07/12/2012 till 13/04/2013 every day from 10 to 18 h (20 h on Thursday).
Best is to reserve your visit online www.imlichtvonamarna.de at 14 €. Well worth as you can also visit the other parts of the Neues Museum.
Hordes of tourists flock into this museum, and you will understand why when you stand in front of the most impressive and huge Pergamon altar, found in Turkey by the engineer Carl Humann in the 19th century. It took him 20 years to put all the pieces together again. It is a bit like standing in front of one of the temples of the Acropolis in Athens, with the difference that there is a building around the temple, and it is perfectly intact.
The Pergamonmuseum was purpose-built from 1910 to 1930 by Alfred Messels and Ludwig Hoffmann to host this altar.
Already the word “altar” is a little misleading as it is huge. And to imagine what huge means read this: The frieze, adorned by an incredible lot of sculptures, is 113 metres long! The sculptures show the fight of the gods with the giant. The altar from the acropolis of the antique city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.
Other artefacts from Pergamon also hosted in the museum include parts of the Athena Temple.
Further you find Greek sculptures, a Roman gate (the famous Market Gate of Milet from 130 AC, mosaics and a large sarcophagus.
Also the collections of Islamic Art, and art and jewellery from the Middle East and Central Asia are unique in the world. A piece of outstanding beauty is the 30 metre long brick processional way of ancient Babylon with the so-called Lion Paintings.
Everything you can see in this museum is the result of large-scale German expeditions and archaelogical excavations starting at the end of the 19th century.
Open daily 10am – 6pm, Thursday 10am – 9pm (only until 8pm from 1 Nov 2012)
Admission 10 Euro (as Oct. 2012)
The Bode Museum was built between 1897 and 1904, and was designed by Ernst von Ihne. It was originally called the Kaiser Friedrich Museum but it was renamed in 1956 after its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode. The museum contains a wide collection of Byznatine art, sculptures, coins and medals. The museum is an unusual triangular shaped building to fit the end of the island and is reached via one of two bridges.
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