The plaster moulding workshop of the National Museums in Berlin is the world's largest art manufactory in this field.
Ancient heroes in combat, princesses posing gracefully, poets and thinkers, all immortalised in busts. Occasionally you'll just find a body part lying around. These are impressions from the Berlin Replica Workshop. This institution archives, imprints and obtains replicas of historical sculptures for posterity. With over 7,000 objects on display, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The collection covers items from prehistory to the ancient world and through to the 19th century. You can see a selection in the exhibition area and shop. However, the majority of the exhibits are to be found in the replica inventory catalogue. Here you have the opportunity to purchase copies for yourself.
Classicism and the new desire for antiquity
The Classicist era of the 19th century provides a great demand for replicas of ancient art. Citizens and nobles, mostly in Italy, acquire these replicas. Prussian art lovers, however, spend their money in Berlin. At the same time, the arts, science and industry are strengthened after the Napoleonic wars. In 1819, King Friedrich Wilhelm III establishes the Royal Prussian Institute of Replicas. At this time, the development of museums in Berlin grows – in part thanks to the excavations by Heinrich Schliemann in Troy. In 1891, the replicas of the Staatliche Museen move to new premises in Charlottenburg, where it is still to be found on its 200th anniversary.
It is difficult to believe what cultural treasures are hidden behind the sober façade of this industrial building, but as you pass the threshold, you will be amazed: in a modern ambience, you will meet impressive busts of historic personalities, sleeping beauties and other art-history classics. Moulds are stored in the archive on long metal shelves, waiting to be brought to life. Spatulas, brushes, tools and colours add to the creativity of this space.
What you can expect
- Replicas of works of art from all eras and all continents, e.g. Rodin's "Thinker".
- Casting of the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf.
- Information on the techniques used: plaster impression, silicone and 3-D scanning.
- Sales room with a selection of plaster casts.
Between ceramics, Art Nouveau and Art Deco: places of interest nearby
The Keramik-Museum is just a 20-minute walk away. This museum resides in the oldest citizen's house in Charlottenburg, dating from 1712. This extraordinary museum is a private initiative founded in 1990. The museum presents around 7,000 items from the world of ceramics. These can be admired in a permanent exhibition, along with temporary exhibits. The Bröhan Museum is only a 10-minute walk away. This establishment showcases examples of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Berliner Secession. Handicrafts and works of fine art are brought together here. This gives you an impression of the design of the epoch between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 1940s.
Our tips for a visit to the Replica Workshop
The Replica Workshop is open from Monday to Friday. On Wednesday the opening time is extended by two hours. Every first and third Wednesday, guided tours of the workshop are offered. Entrance to the exhibition room is free, while the guided tours are subject to a fee. However, holders of a museum pass can recieve a tour for free.
The best way to get there is by S-Bahn lines 41, 42 and 46 to the S-Bahnhof Westend stop. Alternatively, take the bus lines 309 and M45 to the Sophie-Charlotten-Straße stop.
Please note: Please refer to the website for the current Covid 19-related opening and closing times as well as the special hygiene rules.