10 Top Art Museums in Berlin
07 December, 2016
That Berlin has a daunting variety of cultural resources is a well-known fact. Indeed, it is one of the main reasons for visiting the city. Added to the alternative venues that appear to spring up in the most unlikely spots in town – and not always easy to locate, at that – there are the more official offerings, which include a vast range of museums. Hence, those given to “collecting museums” on their journeys to various cities in the world will face a dilemma when it comes to Berlin – that of having to choose from the huge gamut of museums, housing an overwhelming quality and quantity of works.
The Museum Island
Museum Island (Museumsinsel), as it was re-christened in 1870, takes up the northern half of the island formed by the river Spree on its passage through the city. This is a must-visit destination for any museum buff in Berlin. It contains no fewer than five splendid museums, featuring collections that enable you to travel through art from ancient times to the 19th century. The value of the vast collections here led it to be listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
One of the most striking spaces in the complex is the Pergamon Museum, which draws about one million visitors a year. It features a collection of classical antiquities, a museum dedicated to Middle Eastern art, and another devoted to Islamic art. The building was designed to house large-scale artworks, notably its two standout exhibits – the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate.
The highlight of the Altes Museum (Old Museum) is the building itself. Dating from 1830, it is the work of the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and one of the finest examples of German Neoclassicism. Housed in its interior is a splendid collection of exhibits from classical antiquity.
Sited behind the previous museum is the Neues Museum (New Museum), home to the magnificent collection of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin and the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History). Its paramount exhibit is the superlative Nefertiti bust, which attracts a large number of visitors each year.
No less important is the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), a magnet for enthusiasts of 19th-century art, and the Bode Museum, with an endowment that includes sculpture ranging from Byzantine to Italian Gothic to Prussian Baroque, as well as one of the largest numismatic collections in the world.
The Gemäldegalerie lies west of Potsdamer Platz, within the complex of museums and concert halls making up the Kulturforum (Culture Forum). The gallery houses an excellent collection of paintings by European artists active from the 13th to the 18th century, with works by Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Holbein, Jan van Eyck, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer.
Another of the museums making up the Kulturforum is the Neue Nationalgalerie. Located in the Tiergarten, it is housed in an original building with glassed walls and a spectacular metal roof, the work of the architect Mies van der Rohe. Opened in 1968, this museum specialises in international art from the early 20th century to 1960. Standout features of this collection are the work of the German Expressionists and the Bauhaus.
Martin Gropius Building
Located on the Niederkirchnerstraße, between Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz, in a building designed by the great uncle of the architect who founded the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, this interesting exhibition space is celebrated for its excellent temporary exhibitions.
Inaugurated in 1975, the Berlinische Galerie is the best option for whoever wishes to take the pulse of art production in Berlin, as its collection features artworks produced in the German capital from 1870 until the present time. It is situated in Kreuzberg, one of the trendiest districts in the city where, if you’re good at getting your bearings, you can unearth the best of the alternative scene.
Lastly, we have also chosen the Berggruen Museum, located opposite Charlottenburg Palace, as it houses exhibits donated by the art collector and dealer Heinz Berggruen. It is a collection of modern art classics with works by Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti as its major offerings.
Book your Vueling to Berlin and get ready to discover its magnificent museums.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
07 December, 2016