I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front because I have been super busy gallivanting around the world (Europe). I have had a ton of fun and am so inspired by all that I have seen. Europe is flooded with good art. It pours out of museums, is littered across streets and pops up in all kinds of tiny creative hubs buried in each town. Usually when I see good-art I immediately put on my curator’s hat and thinking about everything critically: what does it mean? And is this an effective display? Instead I have allowed myself space to simply enjoy it on this trip. It feels nice to get back to the basics and greedily consume without thinking much about the effect. That said, I have at least three draft posts waiting to be polished and posted.
Recently I had the luxury of hopping on a cheap flight from London to Berlin. The flight itself wasn’t exactly luxurious but buying a cheap ticket and being ‘overseas’ in less than 2 hours? Yas please. I had visited Berlin before, but it was a quick trip and I had to navigate my way around the city in snow-fall and icy streets. For an Aussie who grew up in South East Asia it’s a pretty tricky thing to do. This time I had a bit longer to explore the city and take it all in.
One of my absolute highlights was the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin. It’s facade is grand and a little ostentatious for what seems like a small building. Do not be fooled though. This building houses an incredible collection of art across modern Romantic, Impressionist and Expressionist movements. It also maintains a collection focus on German art from famed German sculptors and painters such as Caspar David Freidrich and Adolph Menzel (#newfave).
The foyer is an ode to classical art, formed entirely from marble. Sitting peacefully at the base of a grand marble staircase is the sculpture Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty) by German sculptor Louis Sussmann-Hellborn. The figure in Dornröschen sleeps peacefully and the work itself is a delightful sight when you first enter the gallery. It feels as though you are officially in the land of the Brothers Grimm and classical folklore.
As mentioned above, I fell in love with the art of Adolph Menzel. I had glimpsed Menzel’s work before in glossy art books but never in real life, at least to my memory. The museum is dedicated to displaying a world-class collection of Menzel works, lucky for us visitors. Menzel’s ability to capture a mood was awe-inspiring.
Menzel’s Horse study was my favourite. Let’s look at three of them in a row so we get the idea. The space around the horse draws the viewer into the image and their gaze is held by the horse’s velvet texture. The work almost seems to move off the page and there is the sense that the horse is snuffing out a nearby carrot, am I right?!
All in all – if you find yourself in Berlin, visit the Alte Nationalgalerie then go for a pretzel after. ▪️