National Gallery of Berlin, exhibitions and pictures

Old National Gallery

Old National Gallery

Closed Mondays. Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Ticket office closes a half hour before close of business. During holidays the schedule changes.

12 euros (discounted at 6 euros); Museum Island general admission ticket at 19 euros (discounted at 9.50 euros). Read more information in the text.

The building of the Old National Gallery (German: Alte Nationalgalerie) rises at the eastern end of Museum Island in Berlin. Ignorant travelers can mistake it for an ancient temple, thanks to the apse and colonnade. No less monumental is the staircase in front of the entrance. In front of it is an equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

But it’s impossible to call the building the architectural dominant feature – the island is home to a constellation of Berlin museums. The ensemble of five sites, including the Old National Gallery, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. According to official figures, about 2.5 million people visit these museums every year. This ranks the gallery as one of the most visited attractions in Berlin.

Old National Gallery

History of the Old National Gallery

The official date of opening is March 22, 1876. However, the gallery was first mentioned back in 1861. The reason for the foundation of the new institution was a gift of 262 paintings from banker Johann Heinrich Wagener. Initially the collection was placed in the Academy of Art. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia ordered the construction of a separate building and created a sketch for the future building.

The project was designed by the Prussian architect Friedrich August Stuhler. Under his belt the architect had many buildings, which greatly shaped the image of the German capital. After Stuhler’s death, the construction was supervised by his pupil Heinrich Struck.

During the Second World War the gallery building suffered several air raids. The collection had to be evacuated. After the war the building was restored. The institution partially re-opened only in 1949. The complete reconstruction of all the halls was finished by 1969.

In 1992, a local architectural firm was commissioned to modernize the landmark. The Alte National Gallery was closed to the public from 1998 to 2001. A grand reopening was held on December 2, 2001.

The restoration of the Colonnade Courtyard, located in front of the main entrance to the Old National Gallery, was also completed in 2010.

Statue of Frederick William IV

Paintings of the Old National Gallery on Museum Island

The institution houses Europe’s largest collection of 19th-century paintings and sculptures. The total number of items on display is about 4,000, including 2,000 paintings and an equal number of sculptures. The collection is displayed on three floors.

Upper floor

On the third floor, visitors can admire landscapes by Jacob Philipp Hackert from the Berlin Academy of Arts as well as works by the outstanding portrait painter Anton Graff and their contemporaries.

A separate room is devoted to frescoes based on the Old Testament legend of Joseph, created by Peter Joseph von Cornelius, Friedrich Overbeck, and Wilhelm Schadow.

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The highlight of the collection is a collection of paintings by one of Germany’s greatest representatives of the Romantic movement, Caspar David Friedrich. One of his paintings is called “Monk by the Sea” and dates back to 1808-1810.

In the next exhibition room you can enjoy the architectural landscapes of Karl Friedrich Schinkel .

Enjoy the paintings of Carl Blechen, another representative of German Romanticism. The painter painted mostly landscapes. There are also works by Philipp Otto Runge, Christian Gottlieb, Karl Rothmann, and the Austrian Josef Anton Koch.

The Biedermeier artistic movement includes urban landscapes by Eduard Gärtner and Johann Erdmann Hummel, as well as genre paintings by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller.

Old National Gallery

Second floor

All fans of French impressionism will enjoy it. The floor exhibits the works of the great Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, and Édouard Manet. Of the latter’s masterpieces, the Old National Gallery houses a painting called “In the Greenhouse.

Auguste Rodin’s sculptures accompany the paintings. Don’t miss one of his famous sculptures, The Thinker. Nearby, the sculpture “Standing Young Man” by Adolph von Hildebrand is also on display.

A part of the exhibition space is devoted to the works of Arnold Böcklin, including a version of “Isle of the Dead”, Hans von Mare and Anselm Feuerbach.

Old National Gallery

First floor

Visit the sculpture hall. The famous compositional group “Princesses” by Johann Gottfried Schadow is on display here . The statue immortalizes the future Prussian queen Louise and her younger sister Fredericka. Others include works by Christian Rauch, the Danish master Bertel Thorvaldsen, and the Italian Antonio Canova.

Also touch the work of one of the leaders of historical Romanticism, Adolf von Menzel . Among the most valuable works by the painter are “The Ironworks”, “Frederick the Great’s Flute Concerto at the Sans Souci”, and “The Balcony Room”.

Neighboring rooms preserve the heritage of Neoclassicism and Symbolism.

In addition to permanent exhibitions, the museum organizes temporary exhibitions.


Opening hours of the Old National Gallery in Berlin

The institution is closed on Mondays. On other days the schedule is as follows: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00, on Thursday from 10:00 to 20:00, on Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. Ticket office closes half an hour before the end of the day.

During Christmas, New Year and other holidays the schedule may change. Check the official website of the museum.

View from the Colonnaded Yard

Prices in the National Gallery Alte

The complex offers annual passes that allow you to visit 15 state museums and galleries of Berlin. The cost starts from 25 euros.

If you only need a few days, you can purchase a three-day pass for 29 euros, the discount price is 14.50 euros.

Museum Island general admission ticket is €19 (discounted price €9.50).

Viewing the collections of the Old National Gallery alone costs 12 euros, the price for privileged categories is 6 euros. This category includes schoolchildren, trainees, students, volunteers, disabled people (at least 50%). You must present the appropriate certificate.

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Children and adolescents up to 18 years old can pass free of charge.

Tickets are sold both at the box office and on the official website.


How to get there

Museum Island with the rest of Berlin are connected pedestrian bridges Monbijou, Friedrichsbrücke, Fischerinsel Street, Federal Road No. 2, open to traffic. The street Bodestrasse is planned to be closed to cars and buses. The situation is saved by the line of the Berlin city train, which passes through the island.

By subway: The subway station Fridrichstasse of line 6 is located one kilometer from the desired building. Go north on Friedrichstraße towards Georgenstraße. You will also pass through Am Kupfergraben and Bodestrasse. Walk along the Colonnade Yard, which will lead you to the gallery.

By local train: Take the S3, S5, S7, S9 to the Hackescher Markt stop. Suburban trains S1, S2, S25, S26, S3, S5, S7, S9 go to station Friedrichstraße.

By streetcar: stop at Am Kupfergraben. Take the number 12 or the M1. You can also get to Friedrichstraße, but then you will have to walk further. At the Hackescher Markt stop you can get to the M1, M4, M5, M6.

By bus: There are buses 100, 245, 300 on the island. The stop is called “Park Lustgarten” (Lustgarten).

By car: The distance from Berlin Brandenburg Airport to the museum is 27 km. Take the Melli-Beese-Ring towards Schönefelder Allee, the A113, Chris-Gueffroy-Allee, Jupiterstraße, Sonnenallee, Urbanstraße, and the B1. Note that there is no parking on the island. You can park at the Radisson Blue Hotel.

By cab: MyTaxi, Uber and SIXT are at your disposal.

The Old National Gallery in Berlin on Google Panorama: View from the outside

Accommodation at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin

Connoisseurs and lovers of classical art should not miss the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Nationalgalerie exists in the capital of Germany for more than 157 years, representing a unique collection of art works of XIX-XXI centuries. Today, the entire collection is housed in five buildings, separating art objects from different centuries. 19th century art, including masterpieces by famous artists such as Adolf von Menzel, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet, is collected in the Old National Gallery on Museum Island.

Foundations of the National Gallery in Berlin

Museum Island in the center of Berlin

In the heart of Berlin on the River Spree is a unique island with five priceless museums of architecture and artworks. Museum Island or Museumsinsel is world famous and has been a UNESCO heritage site since 1999.

Museum Island in the middle of Berlin

List of museums on the island:

  • Bode Museum, Bode Museum – which features Byzantine exhibits, medieval sculptures, an art gallery, and a coin cabinet/
  • Pergamon, Pergamonmuseum Berlin – Art objects from Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Near East and Islamic countries.
  • Old National Gallery, alte Nationagalerie – 19th-century paintings and sculptures.
  • New Museum, Neues Museum – exposition of the Egyptian Museum.
  • Old Museum, Altes Museum – collection of ancient collections.

All objects are included in the association of Berlin State Museums and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

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In addition to the museums on the island you can visit the Berlin Cathedral or take a walk to the colonnade, where in the summer concerts or film screenings are often held.

Location of the collections of the National Gallery

During World War II, the National Gallery building was destroyed and the funds were evacuated. The collection was completely reunited after the end of the war and the reunification of Germany. At the moment, all the exhibits are separated by their time of manufacture and are stored in separate buildings: the Old and New National Galleries, the Picture Gallery, the Bergtrun and Scharf-Gerstenberg Museum and the Friedrichswerder Church exhibit.

Works of art from the 13th to 18th centuries

Some Nationalgalerie paintings from before the 18th century are in the Berlin Art Gallery. The building is located in the Kulturforum in the district of Tiergarten.

Berlin Picture Gallery

There are paintings by Bosch, Botticelli, Bruegel, Dürer, Caravaggio, Cranach, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. There are over 3.5 thousand paintings, including German, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Spanish, French and English paintings of different periods.

A separate building was built for the gallery as part of the Kulturforum. The rectangular, simple structure is slightly forward and rises above the small square.

The architecture of the building has a sense of proportion and refers to Italian Renaissance and Prussian Renaissance and Classicist styles. Inside is a spacious foyer in the center, two rows of columns, glass domes and a fountain.

There are 72 exhibition halls on 2 floors arranged in a horseshoe. Another 12 rooms are located on the ground floor. The total area is 7 thousand square meters.

Paintings of the XIX century

Paintings and sculptures created in the 19th century are kept in the Old National Gallery and the Friedrichswerder Church.

The Old National Gallery or Alte Nationalgalerie is located on Museum Island. It was from this building that the National Gallery began in the early 19th century, when the banker Johann Heinrich Wagner presented it with 262 paintings by German and foreign artists. At first the paintings were housed in the buildings belonging to the Academy of Arts.

Old National Gallery Berlin

The building, which houses the collection now, was designed by F. Stuhler in 1865, based on sketches of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. The building itself resembles a Roman temple with an apse. The building was completely renovated in the 2000s, additional rooms were opened for exhibits from the Romantic period, and in 2010 the Colonnade was opened in front of the main entrance to the gallery.

Paintings by world-renowned artists representing such trends as:

  • Classicism and Romanticism – Karl Blechen, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Caspar David Friedrich;
  • Biedermeier – Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller;
  • Impressionism – Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet;
  • Early modernism – Max Liebermann, Adolf von Menzel, Lovis Corinth.

The canvases of genre painters such as Johann Peter Gasenklewer and August Lebrecht Amberg are impressive.

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The Nationalgalerie section in the Friedrichswerder Church includes sculptures by 19th-century masters. The most famous works are by German Classicists:

  • Johann Gottfried Schadow’s 1796-1797 marble sculptural group Crown Princess Louise and Princess Frederica;
  • The marble sarcophagus of Queen Louise of Prussia by sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch.

There is also an exhibition of the work of Schinkel, under whose direction the church building was erected in 1824-1831.

Collections of 20th century classical modernism

The New National Gallery, in German Neue Nationalgalerie, is also part of the Kulturforum. The spacious, elegant building is an impressive concrete and glass design by the famous German modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

According to the artist’s idea, the structure of the New Gallery is a modern incarnation of the ancient temple, in the solutions of which the romantic architectural traditions of Friedrich Schinkel and his school can be clearly seen.

The exhibition includes works by artists and sculptors who worked in the XX century: Picasso, Munch, Dicke, Ernest, Liebermann. Stylistic trends include early modernism, surrealism, expressionism, pop-art and others. Sculptures are collected in the park in the west wing of the building.

New National Gallery Berlin

The Berggrün Collection or Museum can be found in the Charlottenburg area. The gem of the collection is more than 100 paintings by the inimitable Pablo Picasso from the age of 16 to later works. The famous “Houses on the Hill” and “Nu jaune” can be seen in the Berggrün Museum in person. Other notable artists on display here include German avant-garde artist Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti and Cézanne.

In the same neighborhood as the Bergruhn Museum, right across from the Charlottenburg Palace is the private collection of paintings and sculptures by Scharf-Gerstenberg. The exhibit has 250 works from the Romanticism, Symbolism, and Surrealism eras.

Famous artists – Piranesi, Goya, Magritte, Ernst, Bellmer, Dali, Dubuffet, Munch, Picasso – make viewers feel every possible emotion, from wariness and repression to amazement and excitement.

21st century works at the Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art in Berlin is located in the former Hamburg Station. The room has been specially renovated to house the art collection and was inaugurated in 1996.

Modern Art Museum Berlin

From the Berlin Nationalgalerie collection can be seen canvases by German postmodernist artists such as Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, the American Pop Art representative Roy Lichtenstein, the British avant-garde painter Richard Long, and the American painters Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly.

Highlights of the exhibition include A. Kiefer’s “Ways of Wisdom of the World: The Battles of the Germans,” as well as his series of photographs “Occupation”; a portrait of Mao by E. Warhol.

Visiting the Old and New National Galleries in Berlin

The Old and New National Galleries remain popular with visitors to Berlin, despite the fact that they are located in very different parts of the city. Visiting these branches of the Nationalgalerie allows you to enjoy paintings by artists who worked in the 19th century, as well as by more contemporary artists.

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Features of the exhibitions

In the Old National Gallery one room is entirely devoted to the Impressionists. Visitors can admire the legendary canvases by O. Renoir. Renoir – “A Child’s Day in Vargemont”, “Summer”, “Flowering Chestnut”; P. Cezanne – “Mill in Pontoise”, “Still Life with Flowers and Fruit”; C. Monet – “Summer”, “Saint-Germain”; О. Domier – “Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. In addition, the exhibition includes paintings by A. Menzel, A. Rodin, A. Beklin, sculptures by architect F. Stühler, A. Canova, G. Courbet.

Old and New National Gallery Berlin

The New Gallery exhibits the works of European painters and sculptors from the classical modernist era through the 1960s. Here one can see:

  • Emotionally shocking paintings by German expressionist painter Otto Dix, such as his work “The Scat Players.”
  • caricature paintings by Georg Gross, a German painter, such as his painting “The Pillars of Society.”
  • original, vivid, dramatic landscapes by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the founder of early 20th-century expressionism, such as “Postdamer Platz, Berlin.

Other notable works include: “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue IV” by American abstractionist B. Newman, “The frieze of life” by Norwegian expressionist E. Munch, works by avant-garde artists P. Klee, W. Kandinsky, E. Heckel, portraitist M. Beckman, surrealists Dali, Miró, Ernst.

Tips for tourists

Since 2015, the New National Gallery is under renovation. In general, to get to the Kulturforum, you need to go to Potsdamer Platz: by subway – line U2, by city train – S1, S2, S25, or by bus M41.

The Old Gallery is open 5 days a week, with Monday off. Opening hours are from 10:00 to 20:00 on Thursday and to 18:00 on other days. The ticket price is 10 euros, 5 euros for children and reduced price. Tickets can be purchased in advance – on the website of Berlin State Museums.

It is possible to purchase a card that allows you to visit all five museums on the island: 18 euros full price, 9 euros – for people with discounts.

To get to the Alte Nationalgalerie you can take the subway, city train or streetcar. In the first or the second case, go to the station Friedrichstrasse, bus number 147 goes here, by the way.

Streetcars go this way: M1 or M12 to Am Kupfergraden, then M4, M5, M6 to Hackescher Markt. It will take about 15 minutes to get to the island from the Brandenburg Gate.

To conclude

The richest collection of paintings and sculptures are held in the collections of the National Gallery in Berlin. Here there are the works of masters that created before the XVIII century, and more modern works.

The exhibits are distributed in five collections, which are located in different buildings in the city. Many of the works are in the Alte Nationalgalerie on Museum Island and the Neue Nationalgalerie on the Kulturforum. Everyone can visit the exhibitions and get an unforgettable experience, for only 10 euros.

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