Sunday, July 22, 2012

DBSB '12: MI, Day 1: Neues Museum

Neues Museum, Museumsinsel, Berlin
Flickr: berlin-en-ligne

For some reason, neither Bee nor I have a picture of the facade of the Neues Museum, but thankfully, Flickr always saves the day.

As with many buildings in Berlin, the actual architectural history of the Neues is as interesting as the artifacts it holds within itself. The museum was constructed from 1843 - 1855 by Friedrich August Stüler, a student of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the architect of the Altes Museum. During World War II, the building was the most heavily damaged of the Museum Island buildings during the Berlin bombings and was left in disrepair for a number of years. David Chipperfield oversaw the renovations done to the building which were completed in 2009, and his approach to conserving while renovating the building is, in my opinion, wonderful.

Image from the New York Times.
A view of the Neues in 1964.
Instead of completely renovating the building and visually obliterating the building's past, Chipperfield pieced together what he could of the earlier structure and decoration while incorporating more modern elements. According to the NY Times, "Mr. Chipperfield’s museum is instead a modern building that inhabits the ghost of an old one."


 

Image from the New York Times.
Aside from its architecture and history, the building showcases Egyptian, Prehistoric, and Early History art and artifacts.

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At the far end of this corridor is the bust of Nefertiti. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures of her, but they had some other works involving her and her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten's likenesses.


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Image from Wikipedia.

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Akhenaten and Nefertiti were responsible for completely breaking with the extremely strict convention of Egyptian art that had stayed consistent for thousands of year. This new style opted for a more naturalistic style which portrayed scenes from the daily life of the royal family. In addition to this shift in artistic style, Akhenaten also implemented the monotheistic religion of Atenism, in which the sun disk of Ra was made to be the supreme deity.

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"The Great Royal Wife Tiye, matriarch of the Amarna Dynasty" also known as Akhenaten's mother. She held a large amount of political power and influence within the Egyptian court holding the position of advisor to her husband, Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Later, she still held influence during her son's reign, and even went on to outlive him by more than a decade.

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I'm still not sure what this little guy is supposed to be, but isn't it the cutest?

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