Karl Friedrich Schinkel - History and Poetry


Karl Friedrich Schinkel - History and Poetry

Event Highlight
Karl Friedrich Schinkel: Die Königin der Nacht (Bühnenbildentwurf) – © bpk/SMB Kupferstichkabinett/Reinhard Saczewski

An exhibition organised by the National Museums in Berlin - Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), in conjunction with the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung Munich.
On 6 September 1812 the city of Moscow, at the time occupied by Napoleonic troops, was burning. The fire, probably started by the Russian side in a strategic move is to be regarded as a poignant visual marker symbolizing the turning point of the Napoleonic wars and the subsequent restructuring of Europe. A few months later, during the Christmas period, Schinkel restaged the event and created a sophisticated optical diorama, which was enthusiastically received by the Berlin audience. The exhibition will open on the 200th

anniversary of this event, with one of the highlights being a reconstruction of this impressive construction. The Kupferstichkabinett's exhibition planned in cooperation with designated academics, experts and renowned museums, draws on a number of international loans and has set itself an ambitious goal: Not only does it dedicate itself to aspects of Schinkel's oeuvre regarding

the history of architecture and building aesthetics, which hitherto dominate the research activity; rather, the entire Schinkel art universe is investigated, newly appraised and translated into descriptive arrangements of art works with special attention given to the transformation achievements of the early historism period. The visitor enters into an experimental narrative and is presented with an integral view combining diverse art forms and subjects: Architecture, interior design and decorative arts, stage design and perspective images, paintings, watercolours, drawings and lithographs, the buildings and landscapes, views, fantasies and allegories, amongst them icons such as the designs for the “The Magic Flute” and the most important programmatic paintings by Schinkel as well as models made especially for this occasion.

The Schinkel exposition is organised in eight tableaux: (I) The Person. Family, Work, Ethos (Schinkel as a civil servant concerned with construction, Schinkel and Beuth, Prussian professional ethics) | (II) History passed down and reconstructed. The Discovery of the

Monument (conception of history, a: Friedrich Gilly, Berlin and patriotism, France and Revolution Architecture, b: the Italian journey – European roots) (III) The Invention of the

Nation. The Gothic cathedral. Schinkel, the Painter (War of the Sixth Coalition and patriotic motifs; debates concerning the authorship of Schinkel paintings) (IV) The Stage and the World: Historical Fantasies and Strangeness in the Theatre Designs (Egypt, South

America, the Orient and the North in Stage designs; historical perspectives in diorama and panorama) (V) Berlin. The City and Building Activities (Pluralism of style – diversity of

ideas and individual form of meaning; the scope of Gothic Revival and Classicism) (VI)

Schinkel’s royal Patronage – the Court Architect? (Interior design, celebrations, decorations) (VII) Modern Schinkel, the Artist as Designer: Education and Advancement

of Crafts (Schinkel and Beuth in England; the “Bauakademie” (Academy of Architecture) and

the “Kaufhaus” (Department Store); reanimation of historical building techniques and craftsmanship; economy and ornament; serialisation (VIII) The Dream of Building, Creating and Looking: the Late Visions (“Acropolis”, “Orianda Palace in the Crimea” and “Residence of a Prince”). According to Schinkel, “History and Poetry” exceed pure function and material value and as a consequence elevate a piece of work to a work of art. Enlightenment, romanticist and classicist notions flash up in those two terms. Thus, the exhibition focuses on the consideration of the appreciation of art and history in Schinkel's time. In particular, this is about re-evaluating the significance of “historism” within the development of Modernism. In

doing so, several preconceptions will have to be questioned, which take effect well into the current debate as regards reconstruction, restoration, contemporary society and cultural identity.

The exhibition is based upon the thorough curatorial exploration and revision, digitalisation and complete cataloguing of the Schinkel collection at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, comprising some 5500 works. The research project is scheduled for three years (since 2009)

and generously funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) with a grant exceeding € 650.000,--. Accordingly, an individual section of the exhibition is devoted to the demonstration of the art historical and art technological methods and results of the project – in the sense of a “public Understanding of Research and Science”, in accordance with the public dissemination of research processes

traditionally aimed for by the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett and the knowledge gain resulting from this.

An exhibition of this scope can only be realised in cooperation with competent partners and colleagues. Besides the well-established cooperation with the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich, the support promised by the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und

Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg) will be indispensable. We can rely on a highly acclaimed international curatorial advisory board. Furthermore, we will draw upon the expertise of a panel of numerous specialists in the

field as well as the internal network of the National Museums in Berlin, particularly resources from the Kupferstichkabinett, the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Applied Arts).

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Kulturforum - Ausstellungshallen from 09/07/2012 to 01/06/2013


Kulturforum - Ausstellungshallen
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