One of the top addresses in the Berlin cultural scene, the Bode-Museum enjoys a picturesque location on the north side of Museum Island. You will enter the museum in style, by crossing the stone Monbijoubrücke (Monbijou Bridge). With its majestic-looking dome, the neo-baroque building immediately catches your eye. The Museum brings together works from different eras: you can visit the Sculpture Gallery, the Museum of Byzantine Art and the coin collection as part of your voyage of discovery.
Magnificent rooms through the centuries
The ground floor of the Bode-Museum consists of five courtyards and a long central axis with magnificent halls. On entering the filigree-decorated dome, you will see the striking equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. In another hall, you find yourself surrounded by an Italian Renaissance Basilica. Here, among the sacred art on display, a Florentine resurrection altar is a highlight. Don’t miss the sculptures of Venus and Mercury, located in the small hall within the dome, created for the French King in 1745 by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. On the two upper floors, you can explore the main exhibition. Here, marble-floored rooms are framed with elegant, panelled ceilings. The walls are adorned with large-format paintings and sculptures by artists such as Donatello and Tilman Riemenschneider. Among the Byzantine collection, art from the 3rd to the 15th centuries is on display, as well as antique sarcophagi, ivory carvings and mosaic icons.
The Münzkabinette (Coin Galleries) include half a million coins and medals, making it one of the largest collections of its kind. Explore the Roman, Greek and Oriental works to discover tales from the past. The Tiepolo Gallery is of particular interest: the pink room is lavishly decorated with artful stucco by the Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who produces 22 frescoes in 1759. The history of the Bode Museum itself begins in 1871: the Imperial Prussian court wishes to set up an art museum. The concept itself comes from the art historian Wilhelm von Bode. In 1904, the museum opens as the "Kaiser Friedrich Museum" to honour Friedrich III. The first collections include sculptures and paintings owned by the Prince-elector of Brandenburg. 52 years later, the GDR Minister of Culture renames the site the "Bode Museum." From 2000 to 2005, extensive restorations are made to modernise and improve the museum.
Highlights of the Bode-Museum
- "Pazzi Madonna" made from marble, by Donatello (1420)
- glazed terracotta by Luca della Robbia, including the "Virgin with Child" (1450)
- antique Roman sarcophagi (circa 300 AD)
- drachma, Greek silver coins known as DEKA (circa 470 BC)
- neoclassical sculpture "Dancer" by Antonio Canova (1812)
Be surrounded by the culture of Museum Island
Next to the Bode-Museum is the Pergamon Museum. Many visitors are drawn here by its monumental, 36-metre-wide Pergamon altar dating back to the 2nd century BC. Rising above Museum Island is the huge dome of the Berlin Cathedral. Commissioned by the King of Prussia in the 19th century, it is the largest church in Berlin, built for reasons of prestige. Of particular interest is the Hohenzollern crypt, with its approximately 100 coffins and many classical concerts held here throughout the year. Walk a short distance to the south and you will reach the Berliner Schloss Humboldtforum - a former royal palace of the Prussian kings, dating back to the 16th century. The city of Berlin is currently rebuilding the Palace as the Humboldtforum. It is expected to reopen in 2019, when the collection from the Dahlem Museum is moved here. Germany’s largest Jewish Synagoge is located to the north of Museum Island. During World War II, the original building is badly damaged. Centrum Judaicum, the magnificent new synagogue is rebuilt in 1995 and features a golden dome, housing a permanent exhibition dubbed “Open the Gates.” Close by, Monbijou Park and the Monbijou Theatre are located on the banks of the Spree River. The popular open-air stage has been in existence for more than 20 years and the programme consists mainly of Shakespeare's plays.
Tips from visitBerlin
You can easily access the Bode Museum via the U6 U-Bahn (underground) and the S-Bahn (overground) S1, S2 and S25. Friedrichstraße train station is a few minutes away by foot. The Berlin WelcomeCard Museum Island gives you free entry, although there may be additional charges for special exhibitions. Entry for children and young people up to the age of 18 is generally free. The museum is closed only on Mondays. Guided tours can be booked online, and include group bookings. The museum features a children's gallery for inquisitive younger visitors.
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