The Alte Nationalgalerie is one of the museums on Museum Island in Berlin. It is home to a collection of sculptures and paintings from the 19th century, many of them by German artists, not necessarily that well known outside the country, together with a number of French Impressionists works including paintings by Manet, Cezanne and Renoir and sculptures by Rodin (including yet another cast of “The Age of Bronze” – the fourth I’ve seen – and a cast of “The Thinker”).
They’re housed in a neo-Classical building, built in the style of a temple raised up on a dais, it was completed in 1872. Since then the interior has been renovated on a number of occasions and modified to suit the exhibits.
We had a few hours to spare on our last day in Berlin so decided to take a look round. We decided to concentrate on the Impressionist paintings, Rodin sculptures and other works on the 2nd floor and also looked around the first floor. After that, and all the other galleries and museums we’d visited during our short stay in the city, we were pretty much “arted out” so didn’t go up to the third floor – we’re not great fans of the Neoclassical and Romantic movements in any case.
They have a relatively small selection of Impressionist paintings. I was particularly interested in the Renoirs which had been painted over a number of years and showed different aspects of his work and the development of his style.
“Summer” (1868) is an early painting from his late 20’s. I didn’t recognise it as a Renoir when I looked at it as it is not that typical of the style of later portraits. It looked more like something painted by Manet.
And this group family portrait of a mother and her children, “Children’s afternoon at Wargemont” (1884), is also not that typical of his style. It’s more “realistic” and a little “flat”
“Chestnut in Bloom” (1881), however, was a typical Impressionist landscape.
Of the other works on the second floor, I particularly liked the bleak Impressionist style landscapes painted by the German artist Christian Rohlfs (1849-1938)
“Chaussee nach Gelmeroda” (1893) (The road to Gelmeroda)
“Hugelige Landschaft im Spatherbst” (Hillylandscape in late autumn) (1900)
“Berkaer Landstrasse” (The Road to Berka) (1889)
He is better known for the Expressionist paintings from later in his career (1900 onwards) and was considered a “degenerate” artist by the Nazis. His paintings were confiscated and removed from State owned galleries.
I thought these “Roman Goats” (1898) by Ernest Gaul (1869-1921) were rather “Rodinesque”
On the first floor, I rather liked these portraits by Franz von Lenbach (1836 – 1904)
“Lady Curzon (Studie)” (1901/2)
“Theodore Mommsen” (1897)
But my favourite room in the gallery, on the first floor, contained Secessionist era paintings and sculptures. I particularly liked three paintings by Franz von Stuck
“Tilla Durieux als Circe” (Tilla Durieux depicting Circe) (1913) – a very attractive woman (an Austrian actress) – I rather liked the frame too.
“Die Sunde” (Sin) (1912)
and a self portrait which I neglected to photograph, but here’s a picture from Wikipedia