National Gallery Berlin

Friday, 28 May 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Berlin, Museums, Exhibitions
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Alte Nationalgalerie © Manfred Brückels

Alte Nationalgalerie © Manfred Brückels

The National Gallery (German: Nationalgalerie) in Berlin, Germany, is a museum for art of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It is part of the Berlin State Museums. From the Alte Nationalgalerie, which was built for it and opened in 1876, its exhibition space has expanded to include five other locations. The museums are part of the Berlin State Museums, owned by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

There was long discussion of the desirability of establishing a national gallery in Berlin, particularly during the period of revolutionary nationalism around 1848, and it became an increasingly serious proposition from 1850, when publications appeared advocating it. From the start it was bound up with the ambitions of Prussia and the wish for Berlin to become a capital of world renown. The decision was finally taken in 1861, after the death of the banker and art patron Joachim Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener, who bequeathed his extensive collection (262 artworks) to the then Prince Regent, the future King William I, in the hope of catalysing the formation of a gallery of “more recent” art. The collection was initially known as the Wagenersche und Nationalgalerie (Wagener and National Gallery) and was housed in the buildings of the Prussian Academy of Arts. Friedrich August Stüler began working on a design for a gallery building in 1863, based on a sketch by William I’s father, King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Two years and two failed plans later, his third proposal was finally accepted. Stüler died before planning was completed and Carl Busse handled the remaining details in 1865. In 1866, by order of the king and his cabinet, the Kommission für den Bau der Nationalgalerie (Commission for the construction of the national gallery) was created. Ground was broken in 1867 under the supervision of Heinrich Strack. In 1872 the structure was completed and interior work began. The opening took place on March 22, 1876 in the presence of William I, who was by then German Emperor. The building, today the Alte Nationalgalerie, resembles a Greco-Roman temple (a form chosen for its symbolism that, it has been pointed out, is not well suited to displaying art) and is stylistically a combination of late Classicism and early Neo-Renaissance. It was intended to express “the unity of art, nation, and history”, and therefore has aspects reminiscent of a church (with an apse) and a theatre (a grand staircase leading to the entry) as well as a temple. An equestrian statue of Frederick William IV tops the stairs, and the inside stairs have a frieze by Otto Geyer depicting German history from prehistoric times to the 19th century. The inscription over the door reads “To German art, 1871” (the year of the founding of the Empire, not the year the gallery was completed).

Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart © flickr.com - Fred Romero/cc-by-2.0 Neue Nationalgalerie © flickr.com - Fred Romero/cc-by-2.0 Östlicher Stülerbau - Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg © Kanakari/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stülerbau - Sammlung Berggruen © Andreas Praefcke/cc-by-3.0 Alte Nationalgalerie © Manfred Brückels Friedrichswerdersche Kirche und Schinkelplatz © CruiseTommy/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart © flickr.com - Fred Romero/cc-by-2.0
The holdings of the National Gallery are currently shown in five locations:

Read more on Berlin State Museums – National Gallery and Wikipedia National Gallery (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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