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Opening of the Museum Barberini

It doesn’t happen every day that a new art museum opens. On 23 January the Museum Barberini in Potsdam will show modernist art works amidst Baroque architecture.

© Helge Mundt - Museum Barberini

Does Rome lie on the river Havel? Well, visually at least the resemblance of the reconstructed Palais Barberini in Potsdam to the Palazzo Barberini in Rome cannot be missed. On 23 January 2017, the Museum Barberini, located in the Palais, will open its doors.

A piece of cultural history

In 1770 the Prussian king Frederick the Great built the neo-classical-Baroque town house Palais Barberini, a place for cultural events and club meetings. In the Second World War the Palais was largely destroyed by air raids and in the post-war period the ruins were pulled down. After its reconstruction was decided upon in 2005 so as to bring to life again “one of the once most beautiful places in Europe”, the Palais was rebuilt between 2013 and 2016 based a historical model. The founder and patron of the Museum Barberini is Hasso Plattner, co-founder of the software company SAP.

For love of art

Through the Hasso Plattner Foundation, Plattner dedicates himself to social and cultural projects. Over the decades he has assembled a considerable art collection from the time of the GDR, painting after 1989 and masterpieces of art history. In addition to Impressionist works by Claude Monet, Plattner has collected works by Max Liebermann, Edvard Munch and Gerhard Richter. With the Museum Barberini, he wants to present his art collection to the public, make it available for exhibitions and foster international cooperation with other museums. Exhibitions ranging from Old Masters to contemporary art are planned for the 18 rooms of the Palais.

Potsdam as a new centre of art history

The Museum Barberini opens with two exhibitions: Impressionism. The Art of the Landscape and Modern Art Classics. Liebermann, Munch, Nolde, Kandinsky. Together, they are showing more than 170 works. “We want to allow the visitor an intense encounter with the original and in the long-term establish a new centre of art history in Potsdam”, says the museum director Ortrud Westheider.

The new museum at the Alten Markt reckons with great success. Within a week of its opening in December 2016 alone, more than 24,500 quests came on visiting days to the still empty Palais Barberini. Using the Barberini App, visitors can already walk through the rooms of the rebuilt Palais. 360 degree panoramas encapsulate in image and sound documents the eventful history of the building. Contemporary witnesses of the historical Palais Barberini share their memories. A video about the new museum is available here.

Opening of the Museum Barberini, 23 January 2017