Altes Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Day 23, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Altes Museum displays treasures of the classical world with Greek, Etruscan and Roman art.

I often forget that the white marble Greek sculptures were originally painted in life-like colours. This fragment of a grave stele retains some of its original colour. We were surprised at the detail of some of the1,300 ancient coins on display. The museum has more than 150,000 coins in its collection! Bob snaps a photo of me sketching… and then notices the shadows behind this bust.  He is getting very ‘artsy’! This Greek vase from 350 BC showing Perseus slaying a sea monster with a sickle is quite different in design than most of the vases we have seen. The rotunda has a huge dome with a round skylight and has an incredible collection of sculptures on both levels. In the next room this rather unusual drinking cup, is titled Hetaera Above the Chamber Pot!
This Funerary Lion just makes me smile…and I love this statue of a mourning female servant from 330 B.C.There is so much to see here, room after room filled with beautiful art. The Torso of an Old Fisherman, from 200 B.C. is an example of Hellenistic sculpture representing ordinary people.
This statue of Aphrodite, 2nd Century B.C., is thought to be one of the most beautiful ancient terracottas in existence. I think this collection of Middle Class Women from 325-150 B.C. is amazing. They were about 8 ” tall and are so detailed.The Girl Playing Astragal, or knucklebone, is likely a funerary sculpture. These 3rd Century A.D.mummy portraits from Roman tombs in Egypt were a surprise. We had never seen anything like them.  They were painted with wax and tempera. Another sculpture filled room.We have seen Boy with a Thorn, or Spinario, several times in our travels…at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, in Rome and in Paris. In Rome we saw the original bronze sculpture that inspired the marble copies,  It is a favourite of mine. This looks like a painting, but it is actually a mosaic!  I held up a pen in the corner for scale so you can see how tiny the mosaics pieces are. This sad little boy was likely on a tomb for a child.

Next is a room with erotic pottery! On a long covered walkway to the next museum we see a wedding photo shoot.  The Alte National Museum in Berlin features Nineteenth Century art with works by famous painters and sculptors. These are a few paintings that caught my eye, all by German painters that I am not familiar with. There were several paintings that are only partly finished.  I found these very interesting, as it is possible to see how the artists approach the painting process. There were some Renoirs, Pissaro’s and Carravagios, as well as Rodin’s The Thinker. This sculpture was so lifelike and the pose was so natural. There is so much to see, and we have been at these two museums for over five hours! This is the Alte National Museum, seen from the covered walkway. As we walk to the bus we pass the Berliner Dom, the largest church in Berlin.  This photo somehow makes me think of Notre Dame in Paris.  I am went drawing tonight at a Meet Up Life Drawing session. Our model, Josephine, was very tall and thin which was challenging to draw. These are two minute poses.

            A two and a five minute pose

A five and ten minute pose.

Ten minute and twenty minute poses.

And finally two twenty minute poses. 

Bob went to visit a German Spy Museum while I was drawing. He saw an Enigma machine and failed a spy aptitude test. I guess he is not James Bond material!  On the way home I capture our reflections in the subway window.
This is something we don’t see at home…taking your IKEA purchase on public transportation!  It has been a long busy day and we are both a bit tired.

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