Can you believe it? More Berlin Museums

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This is post #20 of our Dublin-Berlin trip, for Tuesday, September 25, 2018.

Day Three of the Three Day Museum Pass, and thankfully, a night’s rest really helped in the Feeling Better Department.  I’m taking no chances today, and have decided to limit my eating (it’s also hard to manage on a 7-up and crackers diet when in a foreign country).

And…we start the morning with the Squeaky Blinds Going Down.  I’m going to miss this when I go home.

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This mural is right next to our hotel, a piece of gaiety in a parking area.

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Have I shown you the manhole covers (in some places)?

I head back over to Museum Island, taking a closer look at the central fountain.

I am aiming for the Alte Nationalgalerie, or the Old National Gallery, to see the Caspar David Friedrich paintings, some moody favorites of mine when I studied art history at our local community college eons ago:

Monastery Graveyard

Notice that “courtesy” business on the bottom of the painting?  Let me explain why I have an internet picture: it all began when I couldn’t get the elevators to go up to the third floor.  I kept pushing the button, nothing happened.  I asked Guard #1 for some help, and he just looks at me as if to say, Stupid Tourist.  Nearly getting slammed by the elevator doors, I try to get some help from Guard #2.  See above.  A lady with the stroller gets in, goes easily to Floor #2, and I begin to think I am a Stupid Tourist, until Guard #3 explains that the button to floor #3 won’t work because the Friedrich gallery is closed.  Which prompted two cranky postings to Instagram:

That’s the danger of always having a hotspot in your backpack.  And they aren’t just closed for today.  They are closed until the 29th of September, while they reset the gallery.  That’s just  two days after I go home.  So close.  I push the button and go to the second floor.

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Snow White (1862), by Victor Müller

Love this one of the seven dwarves frolicking around Snow White.

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The Sisters, by Gabriel Max (1876)

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Flax Barn in Laren (1887) by Max Liebermann

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The Artist’s Mother (1877), by Louis Eysen

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Auguste Renoir: Children’s Afternoon at Wargemont (1884)

And then I had a bonanza of People Stitching In Paintings.  Or doing thread work or spinning.  I did see a painting of a dog with a chain of sausage balanced on his nose, but I’ll spare you that.  Rodin had representation with another version of his Thinker, or as the museum translated it, “Man and his Thought.”  There must be quite a few of these in the world, I’ve decided.  Here’s another view of him:

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This is in homage to my late brother-in-law Tom; he used to teach art history and he always had a slide of this view of the statue for his classes.  Clearly I am becoming goofy, having been gone away from home so long.  Only two more days after this one.

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I was completely taken with this photo showing how a bunch of soldiers have trashed an elegant mansion while taking advantage of the fine furnishings.  The title is “A Billet outside Paris,” by Anton von Werner.  I wonder if it was his family’s home that was destroyed by a bunch of oafs.

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This museum is pure elegance when it comes to the architecture.

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View of the dome.

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This is now my screen on my computer, all ethereal blue/greens, classical statue and tiny rows of gold stars.  Okay, Alte Nationalgalerie, I forgive you.

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I walk out, past the Berlin Cathedral, and catch a bus to the other side of town, passing through a veritable gateway at Potsdamer Platz:

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This is the opposing view of the street where the marathon was run that first morning in Berlin.

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Giraffe guarding the entrance to Potsdamer Platz plaza, as seen from the upper deck of my bus.

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The bus drops me on the other side of the Concert Hall, and I walk over to the Gemäldegalarie, passing St. Mattheus-Kirche, ringing its bells just for me (click *here* to see video).

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I have arrived.  But where to enter?  I gander towards the left, using my iPhone and my hotspot in my backpack to guide me to the entrance.  Backpack into wooden locker in the lower level (no coin necessary) and then upstairs to enter, after going through this courtyard:

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Always look up.

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The paintings in here are old.  Very old.  This diptych is from 1475-80, and depicts the twelve apostles, first when Christ washes their feet, and then at a meal.

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detail of Judas, looking rather gnome-like

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Seen also in my art history days, I was blown away to see this in person.  While on the flat pages of a book, it looks almost cartoonish (and it probably looks that way here), I studied this for a long time, trying to take in all the very strange details of Mary as the Queen of Heaven and the baby Jesus.  It is part of a set, known as the Melun Diptych, and only joined here together because of another museum’s renovation (see text, below).  This was painted by Jean Fouquet around 1452-1460, and the features of Mary resemble those of King Charles VII of France’s mistress, Agnès Sorel. It was really a breathtaking painting.

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The title card for this one reads “The donor kneels with his patron saint Stephen in front of a Renaissance architecture, addressing the Virgin” (in other painting).  Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs, was stoned to death so he is often depicted carrying stones or rocks.  One internet site notes that Stephen is the patron saint of  headaches.  No doubt.

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I loved this picture for its frame.  I know, shallow.  I photographed many of their beautiful paintings, but because of the lighting, they didn’t all turn out well.  They do have a online database where much of the collection can be seen.  This museum also had some interesting architecture:

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Pieter J. Saenredam (1635) “View into the ambulatory of St. Bavo in Haarlem”

Looks like I’m not the first person to try and capture an image of a church.

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I waited ten minutes to take this one, waiting for the guard to move out of that far doorway and to stop looking at me.

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In this central hall was an overview of painting from the 13th century to the 18th century.  There were many beautiful paintings in this museum, but it was time to go.

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I headed to the next museum and got this far: a photograph of their lockers.  Couldn’t face it, so I started to walk towards Potsdamer Platz.

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Art exhibit showing trees on life support. (I know.)

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I walked into the Potsdamer Platz courtyard, but after the beautiful dome at Alte Nationalgalerie and the geometric dome in the last museum, this was was soulless, cold, and I noticed that there weren’t many lingering here.  I didn’t either.

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Sculpture near staircase headed down to the trains.

It’s nearly 3 p.m. and I’m tired, but since I only have a couple of more days, everything has to count.

One floor down, there was a little shop called Back Werk (Back is short for bakery).  Since I was really hungry, the sandwich I bought ended up being amazing: a triangular bun (Laugendreieck, or Lye Triangle–another way to say pretzel bun), layered with süsßem Senf (sweet mustard), Lollo Bionda (a type of lettuce), saftigem Krustenbraten (some type of roast ham?), Krautsalat (pickled cole slaw) and fresh radish slices.  And yes, I really do have to go through all that translation just to figure out what I’m eating.  Especially today.  I also bought Dave’s breakfast at Back Werk and some treats for later.  I took the late lunch and treats back to our room for a break, and to rest for a while.

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Dave sent me an email: he’ll be late late late.  I felt okay, so decided to head to the Christmas Shop near Checkpoint Charlie to pick up a few things, including my favorite: Mama Claus.

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By the time I was finished, and the shop closed, it was dusk.  Fake Checkpoint Charlie was all lit up.

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I headed home to meet Dave, and we enjoyed a treat from Back Werk and other odds and ends of food we had tucked away.  He told me I looked a lot better tonight than last night.  I do feel better.  We prep for tomorrow, and he tries to listen to the audiobook we’d downloaded for the trip.  And…he’s out for the count, so to speak.

 

 

One thought on “Can you believe it? More Berlin Museums

  1. For the day after feeling unwell, this is an amazing jaunt. Berlin has to be one of my favorite art cities–the architect included in that. You’ve got some great shots of the interiors of these museums. You have such an eye for spatial organization.

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