Horror to Secession

Here we are at the end of Museum Pass Day 2 (of 3), and we are still on our feet, if only just! We are trying for six museums or galleries to make our ‘24 euro each’ investment worth while. We concentrated today on the Jewish Museum and as a complete contrast, The Alter Nationalgalerie – The Old National Gallery. One in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Our featured image today is by Lovis Corinth, ‘The Family of the Painter Fritz Rumpf’ (1901), because Corinth became the first president of the Berlin ‘Secession Movement’ (anti-traditional) which parallels that in Austria of which Gustav Klimt was a prominent member.

The Jewish Museum as can see from the photos is very impressive and modern, a gaunt and grey museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind. The design with angles and severe lines was created to mirror the story portrayed inside. The museum traces German-Jewish history from the end of the Roman age to the present day. It also attempts to look at religion generally and suggests close points of contact between Christians, Muslims and Jews. We thought quite well done.

The Void, pictured on the right looking up, is designed to provide a stark place of reflection for all those Jews who were murdered.  The sloping slabs in the Garden of the Exiles on the left was designed to convey the disorientation of those forced out.  The museum is large and is trying to do a lot, and in the process it gets a bit hard to follow. Which is not to say that it should not be visited. We found it very thought provoking. In recounting the centuries of horrific persecution, to us who have a lot of sympathy for Palestine, it at least helped us to remember why Jews feel the need to be settled.

We ate our sandwich there at the end of the morning in a beautiful covered outdoor area. A sit down after 3 hours was very welcome.

We then hopped on a bus and returned to what is called Museum Island Berlin. This where 5 historical museums are situated, all of them magnificent old buildings. Today we went to the Alte Nationalgalerie (the Old National Gallery). The collection consists of 19th century art of very well known artists – Renoir, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Rodin.

Of great interest were the many German artists who were new to us.  We spent more time with them than the rest of the gallery, as they were new to us and very impressive. Lieberman, Corinth, Feuerbach, Bochlin, Von Menzel, Schinkel, Friedrich to name a few.

As we found yesterday, the audio guide was of a very high quality. It not only told us a lot about the artist and the painting in question, but also about the collection and how it came to be made.  We were particularly struck by the colour-blending technique of Giovanni Segantini, an early German impressionist, as can be seen from his ‘Returning Home’ and two extracts of detail.

We were there for over 3 hours and will have to go back for an hour tomorrow to finish it. If you come to Berlin it is a very good gallery to visit.

A big day but both of us feel a little less tired today – maybe we didn’t allow enough time to recover from jet lag. Nevertheless we will soon be in bed to prepare for day 3 of our museum pass.


2 thoughts on “Horror to Secession”

  1. We have followed your blogs and you’re having a marvellous time, no doubt a result of careful planning. The detail is revealling how much you have learned and will make a superb diary record


  2. Pleased you are enjoying our time here. As you will have judged it is pretty intense but it’s amazing what you can manage if you are on holidays. Hope you and yours are all OK. Love..


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