Germany, art lovers' paradise
By Do Je-hae
If art is your passion, Germany is the country to visit. Financial prosperity and artistic flair have helped Germans build some of the finest museums.
Many Koreans tend to associate the country with soccer, cars or electronic appliances. But the country has been a must-visit destination for Korean art lovers and experts as well.
“Walking Through Germany’s Art Museums” by Maroniebooks is an introduction to 31 museums in 13 cities.
The author Lee Hyun-ae majored in art history at the University of Freiburg, a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
“The Germans have a special love for museums. According to 2010 data, there are around 6,200 galleries and museums in Germany. Around 10 percent of them are specifically devoted to art,” Lee wrote in the introduction. “In all of the country’s 16 states, one will find great museums and art-related events.”
The writer introduces readers to such events, including the “Kassel Documenta,” an exhibition of modern and contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel; and the “Sculpture Projects Munster,” an exhibition of sculptures in public places in the town of Munster, North Rhine-Westphalia held every 10 years since 1977.
The cities covered in the book include Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and smaller cities in the central and southern part of Germany.
For each museum, the writer tells how it was founded and how its collection has increased and has been maintained throughout the years. Readers will also be able to learn bits of European history as the author explains, for example, how an ancient portrait of an Egyptian queen and sculptures from Turkey ended up in German museums.
An interesting feature about Germany’s art museums is that they tend to be clustered in one place, forming a museum quarter in the city.
A famous case is the three Pinakothek in Munich, the gorgeous capital of the state of Bavaria and gateway to the Alps.
The art district in Munich houses the three Pinakothek galleries (Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne) as well as several other museums.
The Alte Pinakothek is must-visit destination for lovers of paintings by old masters, referring to artists before 1800. One of the oldest galleries in the world, it has an outstanding collection of paintings spanning the 15th to 18th centuries. Its collections of Rubens and Durer are particularly extensive. The Neue Pinakothek covers 19th century art and the recently opened Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art.
Berlin also has a cluster of five museums including the Neues Museum, home to one of the greatest Egyptian museums in the world and the Bode-Museum, known for its vast collection of Byzantine art.
Some other interesting museums are the Gutenberg Museum, Mainz. It is one of the most comprehensive tributes to printing and publishing anywhere. The bulky presses, on which Johannes Gutenberg used movable type (42 lines per page), and two of the earliest Bibles ever printed are the primary displays here.
The Kunsthalle, Hamburg, is the leading art museum in northern Germany. The Kunsthalle is one of the most important in Europe, with some 3,000 paintings in its treasure-trove, along with some 400 sculptures.
The book only covers a small fraction of Germany’s art museums,but reading it will give the impression of having traveled through the beautiful cities covered in the book. It contains many nice photos of interiors and exteriors of the museums. Readers can also have see some of the major paintings and sculptures housed in the museums.