Berlin's Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) is home to one of the world's most important graphic collections. You will need to visit several times to see even a small part of this collection, which features over 500,000 prints and 110,000 drawings, watercolours and oil sketches. Here, you will find almost everything: from figurative studies and sketches through to landscapes in pastel. The collection features works by artists as diverse as Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich and Andy Warhol. The museum runs several special exhibitions each year. Thanks to a study hall, you can also check out specific works.
Graphics and watercolours in red, blue or green
Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg is a passionate collector of drawings and watercolours in the mid-17th century. They are housed his Library Court, and this collection forms the basis of the 1831 Kupferstichkabinett, which grows quickly. In 1835, it is augmented by approximately 50,000 exhibits from the Prussian Postmeister General Karl Ferdinand Friedrich von Nagler. Among these works are Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald. Later, drawings and prints are added. Here, you can reconstruct the creation processes of all the large paintings. Prepare for fascinating moments retracing the preparatory works behind your favourite paintings. At the Kupferstichkabinett, you can see the sketches and drawings that prefigure the masterpieces. Since 1994, the Kupferstichkabinett has been part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, housed in the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz. Plan your visit in advance: the Cabinet runs special temporary exhibitions. You can experience Picasso's Minotaur or Munch's depictions of death in a very special atmosphere. Andy Warhol's colourful portraits of Marilyn Monroe, which you may be familiar with, contribute to the Pop Art collection. Works form the 19th century also feature: Caspar David Friedrich's melancholic romantic landscapes for example, or lithographs by Auguste Renoir. If you are looking for a particular work, take advantage of the service in the study room where it is easy to browse and study in peace and quiet.
A museum like a library - highlights of the Kupferstichkabinett
- Rembrandt's etching depicting his wife Saskia (ca 1637)
- Colour lithograph "The pinned hat" by Auguste Renoir (1898)
- "The Bee-keeper", drawing by Pieter Bruegel the elder (16th century)
- Print by Ugo da Carpi "Diogenes" (ca 1530)
- The drawing "Half-length portrait of a young girl" by Albrecht Dürer (1515)
More museums of art history, film and design
You will also enjoy the art library in the same building as the Kupferstichkabinett. More than a million volumes on the subject of art and related media are available here, for example; ornament engravings, photography of the 1920s or fashion magazines from the 19th century. Directly opposite the Kulturforum, you'll find the Gemäldegalerie. This picture gallery is dedicated to European painting from the 13th to the 18th century. Here you can see masterpieces by Rembrandt, Dürer, Holbein and Titian. Plan some extra time to see the biggest collection of Italian Renaissance artist Botticelli north of the Alps. In addition to the Kulturforum, the Museum for Film and Television in the Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz presents the history of cinematography in film and TV. Here you can discover original screenplays, film posters and photos, for example Fritz Lang's silent film "Metropolis". The Marlene Dietrich Collection is particularly interesting: here you can view costumes and photos of the legendary actress. Near Potsdamer Platz is the Martin-Gropius-Bau. The building houses changing exhibitions of cultural history, archaeology, contemporary art and photography. Inform yourself about Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Courbusier at the Bauhaus Archive. If you look at the exhibits on design, you will be surprised by how much the Bauhaus actually shapes our lives. The archive is a walk or short bus ride from Potsdamer Platz. Watch out for the white wave-shaped building on the shore of the River Spree: the Shell House is an especially beautiful example of 1920s architecture in Berlin.
Reach the Kupferstichkabinett easily from Potsdamer Platz
Take the underground line U2 or the S-Bahn S1, S2 or S25 to Potsdamer Platz. From there, it is about 600 metres on foot. Children and young people up to 18 have free admission. The Museum Pass lets you into the Kupferstichkabinett and many other museums for free on three consecutive days. The gallery offers guided tours for groups and schools, which you can sign up for on the website. The study room is open from Tuesday to Friday with no entrance fee. You must register first, however, for which you will need your passport or identity card.
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