Berlin has a brand new art museum since the end of January: the Museum Barberini. The inaugural exhibition runs until Sunday 28th May and already attracted 130.000 visitors.
The museum Barberini is situated in Potsdam, at about 30 kilometers from Berlin. Postdam may be famous for its beautiful palaces and parks that are listed UNESCO world heritage, it is also the home of billionaire and art collector Hasso Plattner.
Mention this name in the software business and it will certainly ring a bell. Plattner, meanwhile 73 years of age, was the co-founder of the software company SAP. Today, he is one of Germany’s richest individuals and the owner of an impressive art collection.
That Plattner has got a good eye for art as well as a heart for cultural heritage goes without saying, since it is his foundation that financed the reconstruction of the Palast Barberini. The imposing baroque building which was built after the model of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome was erected in the 18th century by order of the Prussian king, Frederick the Great. Unfortunately, an aerial bombardment by the Allied forces in 1945 destroyed it. But today the palace is restored to its full glory, and it houses a new art museum: the Museum Barberini. Consider it a gift from Mr. Plattner.
It is therefore no coincidence that the opening exhibition is dedicated to Plattners love for landscapes and abstract art. Besides paintings from his collection, the exhibition also shows loans from other private collectors and museums. 170 works of art are being presented, spread over two exhibitions.
The exposition ‘Impressionism: The Art of Landscape‘, explains why landscapes were a grateful subject for impressionist painters like Alfred Sisley and Claude Monet. It allowed them to try out new techniques like reflections on water or the sun’s effect in the landscape. No less than 41 paintings from Monet’s oeuvre are to be seen, including the famous haystacks and water lilies.
The most controversial artwork is without doubt the bronze statue ‘Step of Century’ of the East German sculptor Wolfgang Mattheuer which refers to the Nazi and Communist regime. It shows a figure with stretched right arm performing a Hitler salute and a clenched left fist while stepping forward.
And it didn’t take long for the public to show up either. Since the museum’s opening already 130.000 tickets have been sold. The Museum Barberini is situated in the Old Market Square, in the heart of the historical centre of Potsdam and close to St. Nicholas Church. A ticket to the museum costs 14 euros.
Photos: Courtesy Museum Barberini – Copyright Helge Mundt