MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Serene Tseng spends a day indoors, enjoying the exhibitions on Museum Island.
No trip to Berlin would be complete without visiting the famed Museum Island.
No trip to Berlin would be complete without a visit to Museum Island and its famed institutions’ exhibitions. One of the defining landmarks of the German capital, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also the spot where Berlin was founded about 800 years ago. The oldest museum on the island is the
Altes Museum (p. 43), situated right next to the Berliner Dom. Known for its collection from classical antiquity, the museum houses Greek and Roman sculptures, which adorn the main floor, and numerous works of Etruscan art on the upper floors. In the current special exhibition, Dangerous Perfection – Ancient Funerary Vases from Apulia, running until 18 June, illustrations and paintings on the two-millennia-old vases illuminate the funerary practices of the southern Italian indigenous population.
Fans of Caspar David Friedrich’s melancholy romanticism and of the his19th-century contemporaries will enjoy spending a few hours at the Alte Nationalgalerie (p. 43). The gallery’s three floors are home to nearly 2000 Romantic, Impressionist, and Realist paintings and sculptures. Up until 30 July, the exhibition Small
Masterpieces will be showing miniature masterpieces from 19th-century artists such as Anselm Feuerbach and Hans Thoma, with many pieces that have never been exhibited before.
Next door from the Alte Nationalgalerie is the Pergamon Museum (p. 45). Although it is partially closed for restoration, visitors can still admire the comprehensive collection of Islamic, Middle Eastern, and Ancient Art. Further down at the head of the island, rising majestically from the Spree River, is the Bode Museum (p. 43). The museum is home to the capital’s Byzantine art collection, with works dating back to the Eastern Roman Empire, as well as a substantial numismatic collection, with coins and monetary tokens from the beginnings of humanity to the present day. In a relevant fusion of themes, Art Coins Money, running until 27 May, questions the existence of art, uncorrupted and independent of money and power. The three-part special exhibition explores artistic autonomy in a capitalist art market, the re-imagination of medallions, and art about money.
Clockwise from this photo: The Pergamon Museum; The Alte Nationalgalerie; The Bode Museum; the Altes Museum. Inset, below: back view of the Pergamon Museum.