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Der selbstverliebte Narziss betrachtet sein Spiegelbild: Caravaggio malte die Szene zwischen 1597 und 1599
Image: Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rom Photo: Mauro Coen

Baroque exhibition opens at Museum Barberini in Potsdam

July 15, 2019

Works by Caravaggio and other Baroque masters are being exhibited in Potsdam for the first time. The "Baroque Pathways" exhibition boasts 54 masterpieces from the Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini in Rome.


"Since our foundation in 2017, it has been our wish to present an exhibition with the collection of our namesake in Rome," said  Museum Barberini director Ortrud Westheider on the occasion of the new "Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome" show that runs until October 6.

Featuring the work of Caravaggio (1571-1610) and his successors, the Barberini Museum in Potsdam is showing several world-renowned works from the Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini collections in Rome's National Gallery of Ancient Art that feature many Roman Baroque paintings.

The namesake for the Rome art dynasty that has also been transplanted to Potsdam is Maffeo Barberini, a 17th century pope who collected and commissioned paintings that are now among the major works of the Italian Baroque. This exhibition focuses for the first time on the Old Masters that embody Baroque art in Rome.

Read moreMysterious Caravaggio sold privately for possible $100 million

Deep reflection

The highlight of the "Baroque Pathways" show is Caravaggio's Narcissus (pictured top), which was painted between 1597 and 1599. The artist broke new ground in art by concentrating on the decisive moment in this mythic story, and by presenting the protagonist as if on stage, the subject Narcissus monumentalized by means of brilliant lighting.

Meanwhile, in a major hall on the ground floor of the Barberini Museum, Pietro da Cortona's monumental fresco from the Gran Salone of Palazzo Barberini shines as a ceiling projection.

The paintings are partly being loaned because the National Gallery is currently being redesigned, its director Flaminia Gennari Santori said. He also pointed out the broader influence of Baroque artists on the Continent: "Caravaggio and his circle greatly influenced painting in Northern Europe," he noted. 

Read moreMuseums in Berlin are an experience in themselves

Italian flair

The exhibition is accompanied by an Italian festival in Potsdam, with the exhibition part of a broader celebration of Italian art and culture in the city on the fringe of Berlin. After their visit to the museum, visitors can take a stroll through Italian-inspired architecture and art in Potsdam, including at the Sanssouci World Heritage Park and the rebuilt Barberini Palace in Potsdam itself.

Prussian King Frederick the Great was inspired by a copper engraving of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome when he built the Berberini Palace in Potsdam in 1772. After the palace was destroyed in a bombing raid in the last days of the Second World War it was finally rebuilt in 2013-2016 as a museum by software billionaire and patron of the arts, Hasso Plattner.

Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome runs through October 6, 2019 at Barberini Museum 

sd/bb/als (with dpa)

Caravaggio Paintings Live on Stage

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