...because it has the Kulturforum! Berlin is not exactly famous for it's art galleries. Museum Island is visited by many tourists and for good reason. However, there are also important galleries here.
Berlin is not exactly famous for it's art galleries. It doesn't have a Louvre or National Gallery. Museum Island, featuring the excellent Pergamon Museum, is visited by many tourists and for good reason. The most amazing artefacts are exhibited here, for example the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon. However, there are important galleries in Berlin, which are not even known to many Germans, let alone Berliners.
One such gallery is the Kulturforum / Gemäldegalerie at Potsdamer Platz.
First of all, it is massive - 7.000 sqm / 53 rooms - a very beautiful space with plenty of natural lighting. From the outside it is a modern building and part of the cultural hotspot around the famous concert hall, home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, the Philharmonie.
The Kulturforum boasts one of the most distinguished collections of European paintings from the 13th to 18th century - among them paintings by Dürer, Hohlbein, van Eyck, Bruegel, Giotto, Botticelli, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Watteau and Gainsborough. Most of them are not the famous pieces everyone knows from school. I visited the exhibition with a former arts teacher and realised how amazingly this collection fills in the gaps. One learns so much about the history of art and the work of famous painters by looking at artworks that for one reason or another haven't made it into our cultural conscience. Sometimes this is quite mind-boggling, for example when discovering that Botticelli's famous Venus has a not so famous 'duplicate'.
Next door is the Kupferstichkabinett with etchings by Dürer, Caravaggio and Rubens, to name but a few.
If you love art, you should plan in an entire day for this wonderful gallery.
Tel. +49 (0)30 2662951
Open: Tue-Su 10am-6pm, Thu until 10pm
Tickets: 8 Euros, concessions 4 Euros
Another venue for a great day out in Berlin is Hamburger Bahnhof.
The old station building turned gallery is located close to the new Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station). It hosts contemporary art in a very spacious areal of 10.000 sqm. On show are artworks by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Anselm Kiefer as well as Joseph Beuys, some of them on loan from private collections.
In the same building is a Sarah Wiener restaurant for a tasty rest before or after enjoying the exhibition.
Tel. +49 (0)30 39783439
Open: Tue-Fr 10am-6am, Sa 11am-8pm, Su 11am-6pm
Tickets: 12 Euros, concessions 8 Euros
<a href="http://www.sarahwiener.de/html/?show=sarah.wiener">Website</a> (in German)