Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Alte Nationalmuseum

We returned to Museum Island on Saturday to see the national collection of 19th century art. It's surrounded by a Neo-Classical colonade and a manicured garden.
 John loved this rather stern warning in the garden. Anyone have any idea what we're being warned against?
The impressive museum building was the pet project of King Frederick William IV. It looks like a Roman temple with a big front porch that is topped by an equestrian statue of the king.
Amongst the paintings I love Caspar David Friedrich's The Monk by the Sea, 1808/10 and Abbey Among Oak Trees, 1809/10. If you saw the recent BBC series "Art of Germany" you heard Andrew Graham-Dixon talking about why Monk by the Sea was one of his favourite paintings and one of the defining paintings of the German Romantic school. It's almost abstract.
I admit that many of the other 19th century paintings could be as dark and gloomy as the ones that this young visitor is finding so underwhelming.
 One of our favourite rooms was a central one filled with some lovely French Impressionists. On the back wall you can see three paintings by Manet and Rodin's Age of Bronze.

John and I love Manet's The House at Rueil, 1882.
We sat on a bench where John noticed this young photographer shooting a small version of Rodin's The Thinker.
Another of my favourites is this famous Arnold Böcklin painting-- The Isle of the Dead, 1883.
I love how these women seem to be refusing to admire Adlolf von Hildebrand's Young Man Standing, 1881/84.
I rather liked von Hildebrand's sculptures like this very perky example, Boy Drinking, 1870/73.

The architecture certainly lived up to Frederick's desire to build a temple to 19th century Art. Isn't this domed space amazing? The work of architect Frederick Stüfer.
 When we left the museum a young couple were posing for their wedding photos in the gardens on a very frosty morning. I love how the veiled wedding photographer is showing the bride just how she should spin for the shot.
 Chestnuts were in blossom and framed the Berliner Dom in the distance beautifully.
As we walked back to the mainland we passed these chilled young art students sketching the Neo-Classical colonnade. A perfect farewell to Frederick's temple of Art.


  1. What an amazing collection, love Friedrich as well, and the Manet ❤ ❤ The dome leaves me speechless in it's beauty.

    thanks for the tour.

  2. Our pleasure, Shelley. Glad to have you along!

  3. I've been trying to ID "Boy Drinking", so thank you for that.

  4. Great that we could help you out with the identification, kinkynik.