An art tour of Berlin: explore the city’s best art galleriesMarch 20, 2015 4:53 pm
Berlin is a culture capital with an overarching, and important, theme of wartime history which has influenced the whole city, in particular its more modern districts. However, it’s tempting for visitors to overlook another part of Berlin’s important cultural heritage: its art.
As the city is home to some of the most impressive museums and exhibits in the world, you mustn’t disregard Berlin’s unique creative expression and offering. With dozens of top Berlin art galleries, all worth visiting, we thought we’d try and pick a top 5. It was a close call but we felt the below offer a bit of everything, from classic to contemporary and all that’s in between.
Neue National Gallery
The Neue National Gallery is one of the city’s most prestigious and renowned art galleries for its huge collection of 20th century art. This centre of modern art is one of the most visited art galleries in Berlin and is part of the larger Berlin National Galleries. Within the Neue Gallery, you can admire works from the popular movements like Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism and because of the gallery’s unique and contemporary design, only a certain amount of works can be on display at one time which means the exhibitions are forever changing. If you’re a fan of Piccasso, Ludwig and Kandinsky, the Neue National Gallery should definitely be on your radar!
Alte National Gallery
Situated in the hub of Museum Island, the Alte (Old) National Gallery was the original National Gallery of Berlin showcasing a range of classic to Romantic art works. The building was commissioned by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV who wanted to create his very own centre of culture and science and you can see the building’s architecture is based on an ancient Greek temple, complete with pillars and motifs. The gallery houses a large collection of classic art works from the 19th century from the French Revolution to the First World War.
Another iconic art gallery in Berlin is Hamburger Banhof, the renowned contemporary art house and the largest building in Berlin to hold collections from the National Gallery. Historically, it was originally the terminus of the Berlin-Hamburg Railway built in 1846 and is now the only surviving building of neoclassical design. It’s also considered one of the oldest buildings in Germany. The Nationalgalerie, as it’s known in German, showcases a permanent collection of major figures and movements from the 1960s onwards, following on from its sister gallery, the Neue National Gallery, so you can’t escape the museum’s progressive theme and contemporariness.
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
This unique art gallery has been curated entirely with works commissioned for the exhibition hall itself. Deutsche Bank KunstHalle is one of the most impressive exhibition spaces in Berlin with an incomparable collection of contemporary installations, paintings and drawings. With a permanent collection of paper and photography, touching on Modernist and post-war German art, there are many impressive temporary exhibitions as well, featuring new and up and coming international artists. Over the last fifteen years KunstHalle has become one of the most influential galleries and exhibition spaces of its kind and is a must-see for any art aficionado.
Step back a few hundred years to appreciate the best of European art of the 13th to 18th centuries. Gemalde Gallery is one of the most important collections of its kind, housing masterpieces from the great painters such as van Eyck, Bruegel, Dürer and Raphael – among many others. Some of Gemalde Gallery’s most notable collections are the German and Italian paintings of 13th – 16th centuries, and those from the Low Countries dating between 15th – 17th centuries.