A Travellerspoint blog

Germany

On wasteland, and through the barricades....

The title today comes from a Spandau Ballet song whose chorus goes " We made our love on wasteland, and through the barricades" They could have been writing about the location of my next visit to a famous Berlin art gallery. I got off the U2 at Potsdammer platz and walked up the stairs to the surface not knowing what to expect. Potsdamer platz from the end of WW2 to the fall of the Berlin Wall was a wasteland which the Wall bisected. It was a place of barbed wire, watchtowers, and barely concealed hostility between the factions who divided the spoils of the city of Berlin, as soon as the war had ended. Pink Floyd, in 1990, held their "Brick in the Wall" Concert in the emptiness that was Potsdamer platz (yet it is only a kilometre south of the Brandenburg Gate) Twenty five years later it is a vision of a shiny future with extensive glass and steel skyscrapers, shopping complexes, high end hotels and eating establishments. It is also home to several cultural landmarks like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra centre, and the Gemaldegalerie. It was difficult to find the entrance to this amazing gallery. It's almost like they are trying to hide the fact that it is there. The building disappears into the background with only a flat roof and a set of stairs leading to a blank glass facade. On a hot summers day it was a blessing to finally step inside to an airconditioned coolness. I paid my NZ$16 but got free headphones with a really interesting commentary on several of the works on display. What a wonderful layout. There is a central gallery. To the right of the central gallery are the Northern European paintings arranged from the 13th to the 19th centuries. They contain works from German, Dutch, Flemish, English and French artists such as Van Eyck, Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and Joshua Reynolds. To the left of the central gallery are artists from the Southern European Countries Italy, France, and Spain. Artists such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, and Giotto as well as many others are shown here. Each room contains one or two masterpieces, which have been looked after so well they look like they could have been painted just a few years ago. This is especially true about the works from the 13th to the 17th century. You are able to get an idea of which artists were painting at the same time and how they often influenced each others work. I took three times as many photos as I am showing here, and it would take me forever to find out who painted each one of the ones on display. As I said the audio commentary was very interesting. For instance one of the paintings is of an older couple standing and eating a meagre meal of peas or corn. I found out that the French artist who painted this picture became very popular after his death. This caused the owner of the painting to have it cut down the middle into two individual paintings, which he sold at a large profit. The Gallery managed to buy them both and returned them to their original condition as one painting. Another painting done by Joshua Reynolds was originally of a mother and daughter with their Indian servant. The husband and father Lord Clive of India was painted at a later date on a spare strip of canvas which was then added to the painting. The reason was that the daughter died a year after the first painting and they wanted to create a full family portrait as a keepsake in her memory. Many of the paintings in this collection are turning points in the history of painting styles, and it was a treat to hear the inside stories about them This gallery was one of the finest and easiest to walk round that I have seen so far, and I would like to do it again next year because I have a feeling I missed out many of the rooms..

The wasteland today

The wasteland today


Potsdamer platz

Potsdamer platz


The Sony Centre

The Sony Centre


a series of towers with a central plaza

a series of towers with a central plaza


and legoland

and legoland


and fountains

and fountains


and 30 picture theatres

and 30 picture theatres


The Gemaldegalerie

The Gemaldegalerie


The home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

The home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra


Petrus Christus 1470

Petrus Christus 1470


Unknown #1

Unknown #1


Queen of Sheba and Solomon 1437

Queen of Sheba and Solomon 1437


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


#5

#5


Jan Van Eyck 1440

Jan Van Eyck 1440


#6

#6


#7

#7


Raising Lazarus from the dead

Raising Lazarus from the dead


#8

#8


Grab the apple and run

Grab the apple and run


#9

#9


#10

#10


#11

#11


Royalists in exile in Germany

Royalists in exile in Germany


Close up of the gown

Close up of the gown


#12

#12


#13

#13


Hello do not cross ze line

Hello do not cross ze line


#14

#14


Frans Hals 1620

Frans Hals 1620


#15

#15


They were cut in two then rejoined

They were cut in two then rejoined


#16

#16


#17

#17


#18

#18


#19

#19


Rembrandt

Rembrandt


closer look

closer look


#20

#20


Vermeer 1662

Vermeer 1662


Vermeer 1661

Vermeer 1661


Joshua Reynolds painting with a story

Joshua Reynolds painting with a story


#21

#21


20 rooms done, only 40 more to go

20 rooms done, only 40 more to go


I been there and it looked the same 300 years ago

I been there and it looked the same 300 years ago


Gainsborough

Gainsborough


#22

#22


nicely painted angel

nicely painted angel


the eye of the beholder

the eye of the beholder


titian

titian


titian

titian


Titian- portrait of Clarissa Strozzi 1542

Titian- portrait of Clarissa Strozzi 1542


closer look

closer look


Botticelli

Botticelli


Botticelli

Botticelli


Botticelli

Botticelli


#23

#23


#24

#24


study for venus

study for venus


Botticelli

Botticelli


Buddy bear

Buddy bear

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

We can be heroes, just for one day....

In 1987 David Bowie did a concert in Berlin where his stage was placed up against the West side of the Berlin Wall, which was still standing. The sounds of the concert filtered over into East Germany where thousands had gathered to cheer and sing along as an act of rebellion against the communist authorities. When he sung "Heroes", which is a song about two lovers who risk being shot by meeting at the wall to steal a kiss, he said it was like singing an Anthem in which everyone on both sides joined in. Looking from the outside ,it is not possible to imagine living in a city which had been divided, for so many years, by an impenetrable wall. It seems today that it must have just been a bad dream, a nightmare that the city awoke from. It seems today that it never happened, because on the surface the city has been seamlessly reconnected. How lucky are those born into a Berlin that is undivided. How painfully real must be the memories of those who experienced the long years of living in the shadow of The Wall. When they tore it down, they were all heroes, just for one day...

Gallery on the wall established 1990

Gallery on the wall established 1990


#1

#1


#2

#2


#3

#3


entrepreneur stamping passports for a fee #4

entrepreneur stamping passports for a fee #4


#5

#5


#6

#6


#7

#7


#8

#8


#9 My favourite

#9 My favourite


across the road

across the road


#10

#10


a deep river Spree by the wall

a deep river Spree by the wall


#11

#11


#12

#12


#13

#13


#14

#14


#14

#14


Part of a long painting #15

Part of a long painting #15


The other end #16

The other end #16


#17

#17


one of the purely abstract #18

one of the purely abstract #18


#19

#19


#20

#20


#21

#21


#22

#22


#23

#23


dfgyi

dfgyi


#24

#24


#25

#25


#26

#26


#27

#27


#28

#28


#29

#29


#30

#30


#31

#31


#32

#32


#33

#33


#34

#34


#35

#35


#36

#36


#37

#37


#38

#38


#39

#39


#40

#40

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin....

Many of you will recognise the Leonard Cohen song title. I haven't taken Manhattan yet but give me time. Looking at a map Berlin seems to have only a few centres of interest, but it is deceptive. Moving out in a kilometre or two radius from Alexanderplatz are lots of little hidden enclaves. Take the area around the old St Nicholas church for instance. This was the small beginnings of Berlin in the 13th century where a village was established by the river. One or two buildings have been recreated in the medieval style to reflect this. There are two major events that impacted on the people living here in the last 70 years The first one relates to the fact that in the area once lived the main Jewish population of Berlin, which was deported during the war to concentration camps and never returned. The other one relates to the splitting of Berlin into two cities, when the Communists built the Berlin wall. One of the enclaves in the old Jewish quarter was a series of buildings with interlocking courtyards and this has been gentrified by new owners, and turned into a tourist destination. Right next door to these courtyards are another yard which contains the Anne Frank Museum as well as a museum to the brush factory owner Otto Weidt who was a Schindler figure who managed to employ blind and deaf Jews during the early years of the War, and was responsible for hiding others and buying food on the black market to help many of them survive. For a while the alleyway was the place to see new graffiti art, but things change and there is always a new place for the artists to do their thing popping up. My next blog will show some of the graffiti at the East Side Gallery. It is the last kilometre and a bit of the Berlin Wall left standing, and in the years around the fall of the wall artists were invited to paint sections of the wall. Stupid adolescent tagging has desecrated many of the artworks, but there are still enough to make it a tourist hotspot, and I walked along it on a 35 degree day to capture what I could....

Look Clara, it's uncle Fritz...

Look Clara, it's uncle Fritz...


The St. George, looks like a good place for lunch

The St. George, looks like a good place for lunch


well cover by the church

well cover by the church


momma bear

momma bear


poor little orphans

poor little orphans


old bears retirement home

old bears retirement home


St Nicholas the oldest church in Berlin 1220

St Nicholas the oldest church in Berlin 1220


chapel added 1452

chapel added 1452


As seen from the river

As seen from the river


The best ever St George and the dragon

The best ever St George and the dragon


the action seems frozen in time

the action seems frozen in time


and it's one scary dragon

and it's one scary dragon


turn around from the statue to this sight

turn around from the statue to this sight


have no idea which street i was on

have no idea which street i was on


one of my 'being lost' finds

one of my 'being lost' finds


complex of interlinked courtyards

complex of interlinked courtyards


in an art nouveau style

in an art nouveau style


full of artisan shops and cafes

full of artisan shops and cafes


another buddy bear

another buddy bear


and one more

and one more


Alexanderplatz is full of stalls and stages

Alexanderplatz is full of stalls and stages


New Synagogue 1866 rebuilt after reunification

New Synagogue 1866 rebuilt after reunification


Seats 3000 people

Seats 3000 people


Holds services and is a museum

Holds services and is a museum


In the Anne Frank museum courtyard

In the Anne Frank museum courtyard


are other small museums

are other small museums


and some graffiti art

and some graffiti art


like baaalice in wonderland

like baaalice in wonderland


and peek a boo

and peek a boo


graffiti overlaying graffiti

graffiti overlaying graffiti


outside the berlin museum rooms

outside the berlin museum rooms


beautiful iconic art

beautiful iconic art

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Achtung baby I'm riding on the U2

Achtung Baby is the name of an Album by the band U2, and U2 is the name of the underground line which runs through the city of Berlin from east to west. On my first foray into Berlin yesterday, I discovered that the U2 station, about 100mtrs from where I am staying, will take me to just about all of the attractions of Berlin. I began by heading for the Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag Parliament Building, which are in the centre of Berlin. Following a bunch of tourists on the way took me to the Holocaust Memorial, which is only a block away from the Brandenburg Gate. I decided not to join the line for entry into the underground museum, this time, but instead thought I would just walk into the maze of blocks 2711 of them that represent just a few of the 6 million Jews-men, women and children senselessly murdered by the Nazis in WW2) They were put there as a tangible reminder to future generations of Germans that the horrors of the holocaust really did happen. As I got deeper into the field of blocks and they started to get higher and close in around me, I began to have feelings of helplessness, oppressed by the height and weight of the blocks, and a deep sadness at what the place represented brought tears to my eyes. I turned back to the outer perimeter and found a shady tree to sit under until I could stop the tears. I read last night that the architects of the memorial designed it purposely "To produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere " to allow one to experience the place viscerally as well as intellectually. "The whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason" I would say, from my own personal experience, that they have done a good job of achieving their aims. From there I walked around a corner and up the road to the Brandenburg Gate across from the Reichtag, and the welcome shady embrace of the Tiergarten Park. The temperature had climbed to 34 degrees by now, and the hordes of tourists were gathering at all the right places. After taking a few photos I squeezed into a #100 bus to take me further up the road to Alexanderplatz. This square is dominated by the TV Tower with long queues outside waiting to buy a ride up to the top. This is the oldest part of Berlin the area where it was first settled, and from here the old churches and museums are easy to get to. It is also crowded with tourists and locals with lots of places for them to eat and to shop for souvenirs. I was starting to feel the heat so I headed back to the U2 metro and was home in 10 minutes. The buddy bears are scattered all over town. They were introduced to Berlin in 2001 as an artistic event in which 350 of them were made and painted by a variety of artists. Afterwards many were sold at auction to raise money for charities. The ones you see today are a few of the originals which are privately owned by the shops, businesses premises, and hotels where they are displayed....I am starting to like Berlin...

piece of the old Berlin wall

piece of the old Berlin wall


Stumbled into the Holocaust Memorial

Stumbled into the Holocaust Memorial


The words are honest

The words are honest


It looks like a cemetery

It looks like a cemetery


and draws you in

and draws you in


away from the life on the streets

away from the life on the streets


until you no longer see it, but feel the horror..

until you no longer see it, but feel the horror..


of the past on a deep emotional level

of the past on a deep emotional level


First sighting of the Brandenburg Gate

First sighting of the Brandenburg Gate


Built in the 1790's

Built in the 1790's


Victoria in the chariot drawn by four horses

Victoria in the chariot drawn by four horses


The German Parliament Building

The German Parliament Building


The Reichstag Building

The Reichstag Building


the Tiergarten park in the centre of Berlin

the Tiergarten park in the centre of Berlin


She takes no prisoners

She takes no prisoners


one of the memorial sites in the park

one of the memorial sites in the park


stones naming concentration camps

stones naming concentration camps


surround a water memorial

surround a water memorial


In Alexanderplatz is the TV tower

In Alexanderplatz is the TV tower


next to St Mary's Church

next to St Mary's Church


Two young daredevils on inground tramps.

Two young daredevils on inground tramps.


just completed a forward somersault

just completed a forward somersault


TV Tower and Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)

TV Tower and Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)


Tv Tower and St Mary's

Tv Tower and St Mary's


I just shoot em as I see em.

I just shoot em as I see em.


A buddy bear

A buddy bear


and another

and another


another

another


and another

and another


and one more

and one more


Berliner Dom or Cathedral

Berliner Dom or Cathedral


the Spree river flows through Berlin

the Spree river flows through Berlin


Entry to Underground and the U2 line

Entry to Underground and the U2 line


Art in the city

Art in the city


Very skilful guitarist and his fans

Very skilful guitarist and his fans


just around the corner

just around the corner


view from my desk

view from my desk

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]