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Culture

Berlin Prepares for Top Drawer Art Shows

After the monumental MoMA show, Berlin's museums are gearing up for further art highlights in 2005: from German artist Menzel, Spanish master Goya, the bust of Nefertiti to the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.

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Berlin's Museum Island will play host to major exhibitions this year

Adolph Menzel (Dec. 8 1815 to Feb. 9, 1905) is known as the most important German painter and artist of the 19th century. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death, an exhibition called "Menzel and der Hof" opens at Berlin's Alte Nationalgalerie on the museum's island.

Showcasing gouache drawings, graphics and documents, the show will be the forerunner to another exhibition at the Kulturforum at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz called "Menzel and Berlin - A Homage" which opens on March 11, 2005 and runs through June 5, 2005. Fittingly, the exhibition venue is a stone's throw from the artist's former studio in Berlin.

A true Berliner

Adolph von Menzel

Adolph von Menzel

Menzel spent 75 years of his life in Berlin and enjoyed a close affinity to the city and its surroundings like no other artist. Though he was born in Breslau (in current day Poland) like many Berliners of the time and only migrated with his family to Berlin when he was 16, Menzel came to epitomize the quintessential Berliner.

He was made an honorary citizen of the city in his old age and was even knighted shortly after that. After his death on Feb. 9, 1905, Menzel became the first and only artist of Prussia to be honored with a state funeral at the graveyard in Berlin's Bergmannstrasse.

His family grave is still there today as are those of architect Martin Gropius (1824-1880), poet Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), historian Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) and the philosopher Friedrich Scheiermacher (1768-1834).

Prophet of the Modern

Tote Hühner

A painting by Francisco José de Goya

One of the undisputed highlights of Berlin's art calendar in 2005 is a large exhibition on Spanish master Francisco de Goya. Called "Goya - The Prophet of the Modern", the show will be at the Alte Nationalgalerie from July 12 until Sept. 28.

Goya (1746-1828) was an extraordinarily versatile artist. He was a brilliant painter of portraits and could at the same time forcefully present the horrors of war and suffering. His famous oil paintings include "The Naked Maya" and "The Shooting of Street Fighters by the French".

End of the war in Germany

Berlin's German Historical Museum and the Museum of European Cultures in Dahlem are dedicating special exhibitions to the 60th anniversary of German capitulation on May 8, 1945.

Reichstag 1945

A Soviet soldier places his nation's flag over the Reichstag, the German parliament building in Berlin on April 30, 1945, after the Germans surrendered, ending World War II.

Another show called "The War and its Repercussions" at the Zeughaus Unter den Linden also dwells on the topic through accounts by contemporary witnesses, excerpts from dairies and 400 other documents and artworks. At the German-Russian Museum in Karlshorst, where the German capitulation treaty was signed, a special exhibition will remember the war from a Soviet perspective.

Nefertiti's wandering bust

Königin Nofretete

Meanwhile Berlin's museum island is preparing for the move of the famous limestone bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti from the Egyptian Museum near the Charlottenburg palace to an exhibition at the Kulturforum on the Potsdamer Platz. The show, which kicks off on March 2, 2005, will be called "Hieroglyphics and Nefertiti."

On Aug. 4, Berlin's Egyptian Museum will then open a permanent exhibition with its famous queen at the Altes Museum.

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