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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Masterpieces of the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Berlin Gemäldegalerie

Masterpieces of the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

The Gemäldegalerie is an art museum which houses one of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Its collection includes masterpieces from such artists as Dürer, Holbein, Van der Weyden, Van Eyck, Raphael, Botticelli, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.

Masterpieces of the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

  • “Bathsheba” by Sebastiano Ricci
    • “Bathsheba” by Sebastiano Ricci depicts the famous story from the Hebrew Bible in which Bathsheba was having a bath when King David saw her bathing and lusted after her. King David first saw Bathsheba while walking on the high roof of his palace. She was very beautiful, and he ordered enquiries about her. He found out that she was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, a soldier in David’s army. David so desired Bathsheba that he organised to meet her and later made her pregnant. The text in the Bible does not explicitly state as to whether Bathsheba consented or not.
  • “Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande” by Canaletto
    • “Santa Maria della Salute in Venedig vom Canal Grande” by Canaletto depicts the Santa Maria della Salute (Saint Mary of Health), a large Roman Catholic church in Venice which is also one of the most recent of the so-called plague churches. It stands on the narrow finger between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water.
  • “Portrait of Jakob Muffel” by Albrecht Dürer
    • “Portrait of Jakob Muffel” by Albrecht Dürer depicts the burgomaster of Nuremberg, who was the chief magistrate of the city. It was probably commissioned for an official celebration and exhibited at the city’s town hall. The cultural flowering of Nuremberg, in the 15th and 16th centuries, made it the centre of the German Renaissance. In 1525, the year before this painting, Nuremberg accepted the Protestant Reformation, and in 1532, the religious Peace of Nuremberg, by which the Lutherans gained important concessions, was signed in the city.
  • “Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher” by Albrecht Dürer
    • “Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher” by Albrecht Dürer depicts a local patrician who was a senator and member of the executive council in the city of Nuremberg. It was probably commissioned for an official celebration and exhibited at the city’s town hall. The cultural flowering of Nuremberg, in the 15th and 16th centuries, made it the centre of the German Renaissance.
  • “Woman with a Pearl Necklace” by Johannes Vermeer
    • “Woman with a Pearl Necklace” by Johannes Vermeer portrays a young Dutch woman, dressing with yellow ribbons, pearl earrings, and a pearl necklace. Vermeer depicted many women in similar circumstances in interior domestic scenes. The same woman also appears in The Love Letter and A Lady Writing a Letter.
  • “The Generosity of Scipio” by Jean II Restout
    • “The Generosity of Scipio” by Jean II Restout depicts a famous story about the Roman general Scipio during his military campaign in Spain in the Second Punic War. Despite having a reputation for womanising, Scipio resisted his usual brutal treatment of attractive female “barbarian” prisoners; he instead summoned her parents and fiancé, who arrived with a ransom of treasure. Scipio is depicted with his palm raised to gesture that he gives the defeated Price his bride. He refused the generous ransom and returning her to her fiancé Allucius, who in return became a supporter of Rome.
  • “Seascape” byArnoldus van Anthonissen
    • “Seascape” by Arnoldus van Anthonissen depicts a three-masted battleship navigating through stormy waters out to sea. The fishing boat in front forms a counterbalance to the inclination of the mast and sail. The red colour highlights of the clothing of the figures in the rowboat standout in the grey of the sky and sea. The signature “AA” can be found on the wooden pole that sticks mysteriously out of the waves, on the bottom right.
  • “Christ on the Mount of Olives” by Matthias Stom
    • “Christ on the Mount of Olives” by Matthias Stom depicts Christ kneeling at a stone rock, with his hands folded in fervent prayer, turning to the angel, who is close to him physically and spiritually. Christ’s eyes are following the angel’s powerful gesture, pointing to the cup, mystically glowing at the left of the picture. Judas and the soldiers are shown at the right in the background, lit by the white light of a candle. The shadowy features of this group underline the threatening nature of the event. The sleeping disciples and any detailed representation of the location are omitted.

German Proverbs and Quotes

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“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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Photo Credit:  By No machine-readable author provided. Gryffindor assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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