Bode Museum

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Bode Museum at the tip of Museum Island, on the left the television tower , then on the right the Pergamon Museum

The Bode Museum in Berlin district of Mitte is part of the architectural ensemble of the Museum Island and the World Heritage Site of UNESCO . Built by Ernst von Ihne in neo -baroque style as Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm II. 1898–1904 , it currently houses the sculpture collection and the Museum of Byzantine Art as well as the coin cabinet . On the forecourt there was an equestrian statue of Friedrich III created by Rudolf Maison . which was destroyed in the GDR era.

In 2019 the Bode Museum recorded around 260,000 visitors.


Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum with equestrian statue of Friedrich III. , 1905
Bode Museum after the Second World War , 1951
Partial view of the Tiepolo Cabinet restored until 2006
Odysseus sculpture by Markus Lüpertz in front of the Bode Museum


As early as the 1840s, the idea of ​​building an art museum at this location arose in Berlin. The art historian Wilhelm von Bode provided the suggestions that were later implemented; Bode was knighted for it in 1914 . Court architect Ernst von Ihne and site manager Max Hasak built the museum between 1897 and 1904 for the sculpture and painting collection built by Bode , the initial holdings of which go back to the art chambers of the Electors of Brandenburg. The museum was opened on October 18, 1904, the birthday of Frederick III, who had died in 1888. In memory of the "99-day emperor" Friedrich III. the house was named Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum .

Destruction and rebuilding

During the Second World War , the building suffered the least amount of damage on the Museum Island, but it was not until 1951 that it received an emergency roof. After the end of the war in 1945, the new Berlin city administration canceled all references to previous rulers; the collection building was now unofficially called the Museum am Kupfergraben . On March 1, 1956, Johannes R. Becher , the then culture minister of the GDR, solemnly named the Kaiser Friedrich Museum the Bode Museum in memory of its builder. The Egyptian Museum with its papyrus collection , the Museum of Prehistory and Early History , a picture gallery, a sculpture collection and the coin cabinet were temporarily housed here. The first parts of the collections could be shown again from 1954. The gradual renovation of the building, including the restoration of the interior, dragged on while the museum was still open until 1987, the year of the city's 750th anniversary .


At the beginning of the 1990s, numerous serious deficiencies were found, so that in 1997/1998 a general overhaul ("Chancellor Maintenance") was decided. It comprised the restoration of the entire 100-year-old museum building in accordance with the requirements of historical monuments, whereby numerous structural and decorative elements that had been restored since the end of the war had to be professionally renewed.

As early as 1904, the Tiepolo Cabinet was a special attraction , a relatively small room in old pink and white with rich stucco decorations in the form of late baroque ribbon work . Here you can see 22 frescoes in grisaille technique, which the baroque painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo created in 1759 for the Palazzo Volpato Panigai in Nervesa, northern Italy. Wilhelm von Bode bought it, brought it to Berlin in 1899 and had it installed in his museum. During the Second World War the room was completely destroyed; the pictures had previously been relocated and were long thought to be lost. During the last general overhaul of the building, the cabinet was restored at great expense - using a single black and white photo from a museum catalog from 1904.

Four of the five courtyards are accessible for a visitor tour with outdoor sculpture exhibitions. In accordance with the Museum Island master plan , a connection to the Pergamon Museum was established . Part of the repair was also the modernization of the whole house in terms of technology and safety. Photo studio and restoration were workshops contemporary equipped corroded replaced parts of the steel support structure, disabled accesses applied dry rot has been eliminated, the fire protection modernized and installed air conditioning. The original substance should be preserved as far as possible, so subsequent fixtures were removed and the original paintwork restored.

The general overhaul of the Bode Museum cost 152 million euros and was financed from funds from the federal budget. The museum has floor areas totaling 25,000 m²; the main usable area is 11,000 m² for the 66 exhibition rooms. A study collection with Italian pictures from various schools, a children's gallery, a museum shop and a cafeteria in the entrance hall complete the offerings for visitors.

With the symbolic handover of the keys in November 2005, the complete renovation of the Bode Museum ended after five and a half years. In October 2006, the fully equipped museum reopened to visitors. In the meantime, the current presentation of the works of art and the interior design was prepared, some of which had been discussed controversially . The result takes into account contemporary viewing habits of museum visitors: walls and plinths are mostly painted white or light gray, the art objects are loosely arranged, sometimes with special visual references, sculptures are often free in the room, the impression is open and lively. In doing so, however, Bode's original concept of the complex stylistic spaces is clearly cited: historical furnishing details - floors, ceilings, individual pieces of furniture - enrich many of the exhibition rooms; In addition, there are 150 selected panel paintings from the picture gallery , which provide stimulating additions to the exhibits in terms of motif or representation (or both).

When it reopened, it became clear that the exhibition rooms of the Bode Museum would not be sufficient for all parts of the collection in the long term. In particular, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, under their General Director Michael Eissenhauer and the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation , Hermann Parzinger , are planning to relocate the entire picture gallery that was previously in the Kulturforum and to reunite it with the holdings of the sculpture collection in one building. This requires an extension that is functionally and content-wise linked to the Bode Museum and complements it in a complementary way. The area west of the Kupfergraben is planned for this new building . In 2009 ten students from the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences , Department of Architecture, worked out designs for a new building under Professors Theo Brenner and Dominik Krohm . For their realization, the barracks buildings from the 1960s, in which Friedrich Engels' guard regiment was stationed, would have to be demolished . The visionary designs were exhibited between April and September 2010 in the museum's foyer. Although neither dates nor funding options have been set, the foundation president announced optimistically: "I am sure that we will succeed in convincing politicians and the public."

In the summer months of 2007–2015, open-air Sunday concerts were regularly held in front of the entrance portal of the Bode Museum.



Bode Museum at night

The building in the neo-baroque style stands on the northwestern tip of the Museum Island, on an irregular triangular plot of land with an area of ​​6000 m². The Berlin Mehlhaus was located here from 1824 to 1897 and, since 1876, the art barrack , in which exhibitions by contemporary Berlin artists had taken place. A 39.50 m high dome made of wood and steel rises above the main structure of the building . Building experts call it the Schwedler Dome after its inventor Johann Wilhelm Schwedler . After the museum was rebuilt in the 1950s, it was covered with slate . As part of the complete renovation around 2002, the dome roof got its original copper standing seam roofing back.

Despite the irregular shape of the site, the architect of the museum building managed to convey the impression of a completely symmetrical and isosceles building, aligned with the semicircular entrance wing, vaulted by a dome, to which bridges lead over the two arms of the Spree . The building is clad with Rackwitzer , Alt-Warthauer , Wünschelburger and Friedersdorfer sandstone (all made in the Cretaceous Period ) from Silesia . A rectangular plinth with windows and two further floors, structured by Corinthian half-columns and gabled risalits, seem to rise directly from the Spree. Allegories of the arts and famous art cities crown the attic , created by the sculptors August Vogel and Wilhelm Widemann .

Equestrian statue

In 1904, the around 6.80 meter high equestrian statue of Frederick III was erected on the forecourt accessible via the Monbijou Bridge . set up. The bronze sculpture came from the sculptor Rudolf Maison ; the granite base with the dedication “King Friedrich III. of Prussia German Emperor the German Empire ”by the architect Ernst von Ihne . When presenting the model, Wilhelm II is said to have said that such a figure “has not been modeled since Colleoni ”. In 1951 the sculpture was melted down for ideological reasons and the base was later removed. A model of the equestrian statue is in the depot of the Historical Museum in Regensburg .

The equestrian statue of Friedrich III. on the forecourt and the equestrian statue of the Great Elector in the vestibule of the museum were related by the fact that they rode to one another: This is how the Great Elector met his imperial descendant Friedrich III, and his builder Ernst von Ihne met his artistic ancestor Andreas Schlueter .


Large domed hall with a copy of the equestrian statue of the Great Elector on the original base
Small domed hall with the original statues of the Prussian generals from Wilhelmplatz

The alignment of several transverse buildings resulted in five inner courtyards. Behind the foyer , an impressive sequence of rooms begins with the central axis of the house: first the large dome hall with a wide curved staircase and the galvanoplastic copy of Andreas Schlüter's equestrian statue of the Great Elector (made in 1904 by WMF ) in the center. This is followed by the Kamecke Hall with the figures that once stood on the roof of the Villa Kamecke in Dorotheenstrasse, built by Schlüter and later destroyed . The next is the basilica in the style of the Italian Renaissance , in the side chapels religious sculptures such as the colored, glazed terracottas by Luca della Robbia and the resurrection altar from Florence . The conclusion is the small domed hall in rococo style with a staircase. At its foot are the two statues of Venus and Mercury by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle , which originally formed the beginning of the Sanssouci vineyard staircase . On the upper floor of the rotunda are the marble statues of the six generals of Frederick the Great from Wilhelmplatz in Berlin, which were replaced by bronze copies at their original location in the 19th century. In this flight of representative rooms, celebrations were once held to which the court society and wealthy bourgeois patrons were invited.

In the actual exhibition rooms , Bode had put together dense, closed ensembles of sculptures, paintings, furniture and arts and crafts objects, as they used to be common in upper-class private collections. In doing so, he billed the most important collectors of the first inventory, the bankers Adolph Thiem and James Simon , who sold their exhibits at symbolic prices, but insisted that they be grouped according to their former owners rather than thematically.

In addition, there were interior design details such as portals, marble floors, coffered ceilings , chimneys and altars , which Bode had bought mainly in Italy for his new museum building. With these rooms he wanted to bring visitors closer to the moods of bygone eras. He followed with the style rooms ( period rooms ), a museum education concept, which also Ludwig Hoffmann the construction of the Märkisches Museum took account - not far spree upward, almost at the same time and with even greater consequence, namely also in the appearance of his building.




In the last years of the Second World War, when bombs were dropped over Berlin , museum employees and many helpers relocated larger parts of the collections, including to the Flakbunker Friedrichshain , which had been classified as a security depot. But in May 1945, when the war was officially over, a fire broke out in the bunker rooms that lasted for three days and developed great heat. As a result, many of the exhibits were destroyed, while others were made unrecognizable (artificial bodies) . What still looked like a valuable exhibit was brought directly to Russia as reparation by the Soviet occupying forces and kept in the Hermitage in Leningrad and in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow . In 2016, 59 statues from the Bode Museum were found in the Pushkin Museum. In 1958, many of the stolen works of art were returned to the GDR in a symbolic act of friendship and stored in museum depots. There they went unnoticed for many years.

It was not until the 2010s, when the structural renovation of the Bode Museum and the redesign of the exhibitions were completed, that donors were found for the restoration of valuable collection items; the Siemens Foundation is an important patron . The museum's restoration workshop is now scientifically involved in the reconstruction of 59 selected works. An impressive example is the marble shield carrier sculpture by Tullio Lombardo (created around 1495). In April 2018 a small exhibition on the initiative Kunst auf Lager took place.

Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art

Sculpture collection

Andrea della Robbia : Resurrection
Ignaz Günther : Maria Immaculata , 1750/1760

The sculpture collection presents one of the most extensive collections of older sculptures in Germany. Like the holdings of the Museum of Byzantine Art , it has been housed separately in different buildings in East and West since the Second World War and has been exhibited again in its original location in the Bode Museum for the first time since 2006. A particularly obvious example of this merging is the triumphal cross group from the Moritzkirche in Naumburg , in the basement of the museum. The two oak figures from around 1220 had spent the last few decades in different places, the Maria in Berlin-Dahlem , the Christ on Museum Island.

The collection includes works from the Middle Ages to the late 18th century from German-speaking countries as well as from France , Holland , Italy and Spain . The focus of the collection is Italy, especially the Italian Early Renaissance : terracottas by Luca della Robbia , sculptures by Donatello , Desiderio da Settignano, Francesco Laurana and Mino da Fiesole are among the highlights of the collection. Are represented strongly and the German sculptor of the late Gothic period , among others with Tilman Riemenschneider , Hans Brüggemann, Nicklaus Gerhaert of Leyden and Hans Leinberger . Particularly noteworthy are the large-format knight saints from the time of the Thirty Years' War and the alabaster and ivory statuettes from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Ignaz Günther , Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer , Edmé Bouchardon , Pierre Puget , Jean-Antoine Houdon and others represent Rococo and early Classicism sculpture .

See also: Group of figures made of terracotta (around 1410) by the master of Lorcher carrying the cross , bust of Philibert le Beau, Duke of Savoy (before 1524) by Conrat Meit

Museum of Byzantine Art

Apse mosaic from Ravenna , 6th century

This collection contains works of art and everyday objects from Western Rome and the Byzantine Empire from the 3rd to the 15th centuries. According to the range of these kingdoms, objects can be found from almost the entire ancient Mediterranean area : from Italy and Turkey , from the Balkan countries and Greece , from North Africa , the Middle East and Russia . Four focal points determine the special profile of the museum: late antique sarcophagi from Rome , the capital of the Western Roman Empire, figurative and ornamental sculptures from the Eastern Roman Empire, ivory carvings and icons in mosaic technique as examples of Byzantine court art, and finally objects for everyday use and for practicing the Christian religion from Egypt .

Coin Cabinet

  • This is one of the oldest special collections of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation . Its beginnings go back to the art chamber of Brandenburg electors in the late 16th century. The cabinet was given the status of its own museum in 1868 and in 1904 was given specially furnished rooms in the museum's basement.

The Münzkabinett is one of the world's largest numismatic collections. Its validity is essentially based on closed coin series from the beginning of coinage in the seventh century BC in Asia Minor to the present day. Only a small part of the more than 500,000 objects can be shown in the permanent exhibitions. In the Pergamon Museum, 1500 top examples of ancient coins are presented. In the Bode Museum, 4,000 coins and medals can be seen in four exhibition rooms on the second floor. The pieces on display are described in an interactive coin catalog. All other objects can be viewed in the basement after prior notification. The special numismatic library can also be used there.

Maple leaf theft

The Big Maple Leaf gold coin before it was stolen in the Bode Museum

On the night of March 27, 2017, a big maple leaf gold coin weighing around 100 kg was stolen from the exhibition; it was on loan from a private owner. Their face value was one million Canadian dollars , the material value at the time of the crime around 3.8 million euros. Four suspects were arrested in July 2017, two of whom were still in custody in November 2017. Gold deposits on the coin were found in a vehicle that had been confiscated for other reasons; the coin itself was not found. In 2018 it was announced to the public that the thieves could not be caught and that in all likelihood the coin had been melted down. In mid-July 2018, the Berlin public prosecutor's office and the Berlin State Criminal Police Office confiscated 77 properties with a total value of ten million euros from the members of the extended Remmo family , to which the suspects are assigned. In the event of contradictions, the Berlin Regional Court has to decide on the final whereabouts of the property in question.

Exhibitions (extract 2015–2020)

  • Pearl exchange - knowledge, worlds, values. (January 21 - May 3, 2020)
  • Incomparable: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum (October 27, 2017 - November 24, 2019)
  • Two camels and a saint - Abu Mina ancient pilgrimage center in Egypt (February 13, 2018 - January 31, 2019)
  • 150 years of the Münzkabinett - coins, medals, people (November 23, 2018 - October 27, 2019)
  • Images of Man - Paths to Portraits from Antiquity to the Present (November 24, 2017 - October 7, 2018)
  • Science and Turbulence. Wolfgang Fritz Volbach , a scientist between the two world wars (October 13, 2017 - January 28, 2018)
  • Syria antiqua - coins and monuments on Museum Island (June 16 - November 5, 2017)
  • Art shapes money: Muse makes money (November 24, 2016 - May 27, 2017)
  • Canova and the Dance (October 21, 2016 - January 22, 2017)
  • Holbein in Berlin - The Madonna of the Würth Collection with masterpieces from the National Museums in Berlin (January 21 - July 17, 2016)
  • One God - Abraham's heir on the Nile. Jews, Christians, Muslims in Egypt from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (December 1, 2015 - December 31, 2016)
  • Nothing new. The abstraction has not started yet. Markus Lüpertz in the Bode Museum (November 6, 2015 - March 20, 2016)
  • Thrace 3.0. Minting in the land of Orpheus (October 16, 2015 - October 15, 2016)
  • The expressive in art. The Crucifixion of the Master of Messkirch from the Würth Collection in the Bode Museum (July 23, 2015 - January 3, 2016)
  • Collector luck. Masterpieces from the Marks-Thomée Collection (July 17, 2015 - November 15, 2015)
  • The missing museum. The Berlin sculpture and painting collections 70 years after the end of the war (March 19, 2015 - September 27, 2015)
  • Mark Alexander. Red and White Mannheim (October 29, 2014 - February 15, 2015)
  • Theodor Wiegand and Byzantine Art (October 17, 2014 - January 18, 2015)
  • I gave gold for iron. The First World War through the Medal (March 21, 2014 - August 30, 2015)

See also


  • Elke Bannike (Red.): 100 years of the Bodemuseum Berlin. 100 years of the Münzkabinett in the Bode Museum . Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin 2004 (= contributions to Brandenburg-Prussian numismatics. No. 12) .
  • Janet Kempf et al. a. (Red.): Sculpture collection in the Bode Museum . Prestel, Munich a. a. 2006, ISBN 3-7913-3744-0 (= Prestel museum guide) .
  • Bernd Kluge (Red.): Coins and Medals. 100 topics. The exhibition of the Münz-Kabinett in the Bode-Museum . Prestel, Munich a. a. 2006 (= Prestel Museum Guide) , ISBN 3-7913-3746-7 .
  • Antje-Fee Köllermann, Iris Wenderholm (ed.): The Bode Museum. 100 masterpieces. Museum of Byzantine Art, Sculpture Collection, Coin Cabinet . 2. verb. Aufl. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-88609-546-0 .
  • Alexander Markschies: Well stolen is half built - the history of the Bode Museum . In: INSITU - Zeitschrift für Architekturgeschichte , 2 (1/2010), pp. 45–64.
  • Gabriele Mietke (Red.): The Museum for Byzantine Art in the Bode Museum . Prestel, Munich a. a. 2006, ISBN 3-7913-3745-9 (= Prestel museum guide) .
  • Renate Petras: The buildings of the Berlin Museum Island . Verlag für Bauwesen, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-345-00052-0 .
  • Oliver Sander: Ernst von Ihne (1847–1917) and his Berlin buildings. Yearbook Prussian Cultural Heritage 1998, Volume 35, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1999.
  • Bénédicte Savoy, Philippa Sissis (ed.): The Berlin Museum Island: Impressions of international visitors (1830–1990). An anthology. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-412-20991-9 .
  • Hubert H. Wartner: Rudolf Maison (1854–1904) - a forgotten sculptor of historicism. PDF
  • Carola Wedel (Ed.): The Bode Museum. Treasury of the Kings . Jaron, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89773-549-0 .

Web links

Commons : Bode-Museum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Press articles

Individual evidence

  2. Berlin State Museums counted more than 4 million visitors in 2019. January 31, 2020, accessed July 19, 2020 .
  3. Markschies, p. 45.
  4. 10 sheets of him on the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in the Architekturmuseum der TU Berlin , accessed on January 17, 2019.
  5. Renate Petras (lit.), p. 180 (degree of destruction), p. 185 (emergency roof).
  6. Pharus city map Berlin 1954 excerpt  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  7. Hans J. Reichardt u. a .; Landesarchiv Berlin (edit): Berlin. Chronicle of the years 1955–1956. Spitzing, Berlin 1971, p. 438, also Petras (Lit.), p. 187.
  8. Michael Eissenhauer: Foreword. In: Bernd W. Lindemann (Ed.): Bode Museum - Architecture, Collection, History. Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-938832-60-8 , pp. 5-6.
  9. Typology of the museum architecture: Ideas for an extension of the Bode Museum
  10. Sebastian Preuss: Finally something can be seen. The vision becomes concrete: first plans for the expansion of the Bode Museum. In: Berliner Zeitung . April 23, 2010; P. 24.
  11. Sunday Concerts website
  12. Marcus Böttcher, Volkmar Otto (photos): Well coupled . In: Berliner Zeitung . May 10, 2017, p. 14.
  13. Karin Geiger, Sabine Tausch: Rudolf Maison (1854-1904). Regensburg - Munich - Berlin. Ed .: Historical Museum. 1st edition. Accompanying volume for the exhibition: Rudolf Maison (1854–1904) - Sculptor for King, Emperor and other "art-loving laypeople" in the Historical Museum of the City of Regensburg, from September 18, 2016 to April 2, 2017. Regensburg 2016, ISBN 978-3- 86845-138-2 .
  14. Oliver Sander: Ernst von Ihne (1847–1917) and his Berlin buildings. Yearbook Prussian Cultural Heritage 1998, Volume 35, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1999, p. 105
  15. Sven Kuhrau: The art collector in the empire. Art and representation in Berlin's private collector culture. Ludwig, Kiel 2005, ISBN 3-937719-20-2 .
  16. ^ Sculptures from Berlin appeared in Moscow.
  17. a b Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art (State Museums in Berlin).
  18. ^ Nicola Kuhn: rebirth on the workbench ; Der Tagesspiegel , April 12, 2018, p. 21.
  19. ^ Münzkabinett (State Museums in Berlin),
  20. Virtual tour of the Münzkabinett (with transition to the online catalog),
  21. 100 kilo gold coin stolen from the Berlin Museum. In: , March 27, 2017, accessed on March 27, 2017.
  22. Evidence in the gold coin case should probably be destroyed.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. At: , November 14, 2017@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  23. Success in the fight against criminal clans: Police confiscate 77 properties . In: Focus , July 19, 2018.
  24. Organized crime Police confiscate property from large Arab family . In: Berliner Zeitung , July 19, 2018.

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '18 "  N , 13 ° 23' 42"  E