Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Egyptian Art at the Neues Museum

Berlin's Neues Museum is world-renowned for it's Egyptian antiquities, but the Neues is also features a vast collection of prehistoric artifacts, Celtic art and artifacts from the early history of Germania.
Bill and I were astonished by the realism and freshness of this animal sculpture from 18,000 to 12,000 BC. Wisely, this is one of the first things they show you when you get off the elevator on the top floor.
The next thing they showed us was this skeleton of a moose -- Europeans call it an elk -- to remind us these creatures lived and died twelve thousand years ago.
We loved the Neues Museum's study collection with its old cabinets. Like others on Museum Island, the building was severely damaged by 2nd World War bombing, but has been restored and redesigned slowly under the guidance of British architect, David Chipperfield. He tried to retain as many elements of the original building as was possible.
No-one can resist the appeal of Celtic gold with its geometric decorations. The Celts appeared in the area now know as Germany in the late 1st millenium BC.
Bill loved this bronze helmet was created sometime between 600-500 BC. We've never seen anything like it.
The Bronze age "hoard" room is an excellent example of the tasteful renovation of the galleries.
The Neues Museum's Egyptian collection did not disappoint. Here are two bronze figures of a female priest and a noble woman from around 700 BC.
Bill liked  this New Kingdom family group (1250-1200 BC),
with its back relief of an intimate scene of the Pfahmi family.
while John favoured this kneeling nobleman holding a tablet inscribed with hieroglyphics.
This New Kingdom Study for a Horses Head (1345 BC) is one of my favourite objects in the museum. I find it so fresh and modern -- astonishing.
Bill and I loved this New Kingdom artist's sketch Walk in the Garden of a Royal Couple.
and this tomb releif of pharoh Amemhotep III.
I might mention that the Neue Museum was full of tour groups. Every group was treated to a long lecture about this delicate New Kingdom portrait of Queen Tiy in a double-feathered crown.
Another exquisite New Kingdom work of art -- Pair of hands from a group statue of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Photography is not allowed in the room with the famous bust of Nefertiti
 except for this little striding statuette of the famous lady.
Bill and I are always as interested in other museum goers as we are in the displays.
But the displays always win out. Bust of King Tutankhamen, 1335 BC.
Here's another view of the famous King Tut. Such an elegant head!
On the ground floor we returned to more early German history. The label for this "Zanten Youth" is below. He's introducing some artifacts from the Roman conquest of Germania.
The Zantan Youth would have held a tray of food at Germanic Roman banquets around the middle of the 1st century AD.
Relief depicting a Roman legionary from about the same period.
Colossal Statue of Helios, 138-161 AD
John looks at an ancient sculpture of a Celtic god in the room dedicated to archeological finds in German lands not occupied by the Romans.
The guidebook tells us that the museum was heavily damaged by air raids in 1943 and 1945. Many pieces of decorative masonry could be put back together again when reconstruction work was begun in the 1980s but the items here in the "Fragmentorium" could not be relocated "because the rooms to which they belonged were completely destroyed".
We'll leave the early German history rooms with the medieval tombstone of Heinrich Beyer von Boppard and wife, Gattin Lisa, 1376.
The Neue Museum is vast. We were ready to leave when we went downstairs and discovered more Egyptian artifacts in the "crypt". Bill and I are big fans of these Roman funerary portraits from Egypt. Lady Aline, portrayed here looks so contemporary and lifelike.
Quite different from this portrait of Queen Ahmose-Noretari (1152-1145 BC) in the classic Egyptian style.
We'll say goodbye to our abbreviated tour of the Neues collections with these Egyptian soldiers and Nubian mercenaries, 1470 BC. Hope you enjoyed our little glimpse of the treasures.
Bill and I LIVE for museum shops and we always pray for good postcards. Once again the Neue Museum did not disappoint. Yep, those are copies of the Nefertiti bust in the background.


  1. 18,000 BC. - hard to fathom! So fascinating that anythings still exists. I love the hands especially & the funerary portrait. Everything is so appealing.

  2. 18,000 BC -- I feel the same way Shelley. Amazing, and still so vital. Another stunning Berlin collection. Bill and I are reeling!

  3. Thank you for your astonishing guidance

  4. You're welcome, Arman. Glad you're enjoying our blog. As you can see, we love to share.