The Gemäldegalerie was *right next door* to our hotel in Berlin, so a visit was absolutely required right before we left Berlin the next morning. I was also glad that both David and Robert could make the time to visit as well.
I’ve included a number of photographs here mostly of portions of paintings as there was no real point in trying to capture the whole of the work as it really does not do the work justice. Instead, I’ve focused on details that drew my attention in the paintings and organized them here in order of age with the older works first.
Petrus Christus worked in Bruges starting around 1444 and painted Das Jungste Gericht in 1452. This portion of the larger painting represented Judgement Day, a concept that originated likely with Zoroastrianism between 1800 BC and 600 BC and continued on throughout Babylonian and Egyptian times through to the Jewish, Islamic and Christian faiths. The full painting is stunning, but is not one of his more famous works. For something that you likely might have seen, check out Portrait of a Young Girl, also in the Gemäldegalerie.
Meister des Hausbuchs or Master of the Book was a painter, draftsman and engraver working in the Rhine between 1470 and 1505. He painted The Washing of the Feet of the Apostles in 1475. The true identity of Meister des Hausbuchs has never been definitively established to my reading.
The ethnocentricity of the early painters in the 15th century always fascinates me. People are caucasoid and often wearing the hairstyles, clothes, fabrics and accoutrements of 15th century European life as that was the reality of those artists.
Maria als Schmerzensmutter was painted in 1495 by Hans Holbein. Holbein’s work was absolutely unique as exemplified here with the of the Virgin Mary’s eyes, red from crying, an amazing attempt at realism for the time.
Sandro Botticelli painted this Venus around 1500. This is one of those paintings that stuns you into reality when you see it. I love the experience of walking through a museum and coming face to face with an original, hanging here in a corner that one has seen again and again in books, film and photographs. Venus herself has made repeated appearances in Boticelli’s works, most famously in The Birth of Venus, hanging in Florence at the Uffizi, another museum that I will have to see one of these days.
David taking in the Boticelli paintings.
Triptychon mit dem Jungsten Gericht painted by Jean Bellegambe in 1525 was another apocalyptic painting of the Last Judgement with truly horrific creatures and demons torturing those unlucky souls. Its amazing stuff with imagination and creativity that is unequaled even in modern horror films.
This Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher by the amazing Albrect Durer in 1526. Durer was phenomenally prolific in his art, math and theory. His mathematical treatises were cited by both Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, despite Durer never having a formal education.
The portrait of Georg Gisze in 1532 is another of the more famous works of Hans Holbein, discussed above.
The painting, Der hi Hieronymus in seiner Zelle by Marinus van Reymerswaele in 1545 portrays Saint Jerome, best known for translating the Bible into Latin and another prolific writer, considered second only to Saint Augustine. The red robes of a Catholic cardinal, skull and Bible are common themes in the portrayal of Saint Jerome by artists throughout history. The painter of this work, Marinus van Reymerswaele was convicted in Middelburg for looting of the Westminster Church.
Robert looking at a still life.
Bildnis eines alteren Mannes by Peter Paul Rubens in 1625 really stood out for me. Don’t know why, but the play of light really was almost photographic. On top of that, it was a rush to see a Rubens…
Rembrandt was another painter who’s work was thrilling to see, despite the subject matter that this particular painting completed in 1631 depicts. Raub der Proserpina or the Rape of Persephone is a theme that many artists have depicted.
Robert and Rembrandt
Das Colosseum in Rom mit einem Uberfall auf eine Kutsche by Pieter J Saenredaem in 1631. I am always interested in historical contexts… In 1631 when this picture was painted, the Colosseum in Rome had been severely damaged by an earthquake in 1349 and by the 15th century, a religious order had occupied the center of the Colosseum, stripping most of the stone inside for construction projects elsewhere in Rome and the marble on the outside was being stripped to make quicklime. By the time of Pope Sixtus V in 1585, there were plans to turn the Colosseum into a wool factory that would provide employment for prostitutes. The building was largely abandoned until Pope Benedict XIV had the Colosseum protected in 1749. The important part of this is that we see in this painting, the condition of the Colosseum as it was in 1631.
The artist Pieter J Saenredam who painted the Colosseum in the previous image painted this, the Blick in den Chorumgang von St. Bavo in Haarlem in 1635. I was impressed by the almost photorealistic appearance of this image. He uses techniques that were far ahead of his time in some ways.
This is a small portion of the painting Stilleben mit Muziekinstrumenten from Pieter de Ring in 1650. I was impressed by the globe in the lower portion of the painting with the then understanding of what North America looked like.
Das Glas Wein finished in 1662 by Johannes Vermeer was amazing for his handling of fabrics. The detail and care with how his paintings were handled is truly impressive and they strike me almost as photographic portraits. Of course one of his most famous paintings, Girl With a Pearl Earring hanging in The Hague is his most famous.
Robert looking at Adriaen Backer‘s Amsterdam almshouse regents finished in 1676.
I loved this printing example with the copper plate and the prints held opposite.
Thanks to Robert and David for an excellent afternoon followed by good German beer.
A final post on Berlin will be coming as soon as I can get through the photos.