Berlin is PACKED with fancy museums, which are well-worth going to. They are however, expensive, especially if you’re not a student, or like me, your student ID expired back in September without you realizing or noticing until the not-entirely-friendly ticket-seller at the Gemäldegalerie pointed it out to you while gouging you for the full-price ticket. Now, don’t get me wrong, the fantastic-ness of Berlin’s museums is well worth the cost in nearly all cases (except for one, which I’ll get to in a minute). And I was extremely fortunate that the first day I arrived happened to be a big deal event in the city called the Long Night of Museums or Lange Nacht der Museen, when many, many of Berlin’s best and brightest museums were open until 5am with a seriously discounted admission price. So through this stroke of luck I got to visit the Pergamon Museum and the Bode Museum on the cheap:
I have been to London, Paris, Rome (obviously), Vienna, and New York (among others) and to museums in them all, but I have to say that the Pergamon Museum might just be the greatest museum I’ve ever see. Where else (and if there actually are places like this, please tell me!!) do they have giant bits of giantly spectacular ancient buildings for you to walk through, sit on, and generally enjoy as if you actually lived in ancient Pergamon, Miletus, or Babylon? I mean, really. Between the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, and the Ishtar Gate/processional way, (and also the Mshatta facade, which, dammit, I didn’t see, so now I’ll have to go back!), you feel small, and agog at the marvels of history. It’s great.
I also went to the Bode Museum, which was nice, and maybe if I hadn’t been so sleepy and it wasn’t so full of little fiddly things that take a lot of attention to look at, I would have been more impressed. However, this burned up Della Robbia sculpture caught my eye because it’s fascinating when museums show stuff that hasn’t fared well.
This particular Renaissance terracotta was burned in a fire during WWII, which was the fate of a lot of artworks, most of which didn’t survive as well as this one and in many ways these relics of a terrible moment in history are swept under the rug, so it was great to see it on display. The Bode does have a lot of other really great stuff, including a fancy little Donatello, but unfortunately it wasn’t out, and so I was left to admire the pretty exterior of the building:
The Gemäldegalerie was my next museum destination and while it is one of the great painting collections in the world, I was a bit peevish when I was there because of the aforementioned full-price ticket charge. Reduced price museum admissions are one of the few material benefits to being a ridiculously poor graduate student and when that system fails me I tend to get rather annoyed, even when there are pretty things like this:
So, despite my cheerfulness, the Gemäldegalerie was pretty good and definitely worth full-price. This time. But after that episode, I didn’t want to risk having to pay full price anywhere else, so I didn’t go to the Neues Museum to see the Nefertiti. I wanted to, I even stood in line for tickets on two separate occasions. But 14euro is a lot of money. Next time, I suppose.
Next post: more Berlin museums, and this time, the weird ones!