Berlin – Museum complex in Dahlem
The suburb of Dahlem lies southwest of Berlin city center and, with its small-town atmosphere, appears to be in a different world from the overcast metropolis. It houses the Free University, houses of wealthier citizens and a group of the best museums in the city (and one of the best in Europe).
Visiting the Dahlem Museum, currently located in the new building, it can be too exhausting if you want to complete everything in one go; better to go there a few times and diversify your excursions with walks in the nearby botanical garden (look down). If you don't have enough time to watch it all, be sure to see the picture gallery and ethnographic collections of the South Seas. Access to the museum by U-Bahn #2 do Dahlem-Dorf, then follow the arrows; the main part is on Arnimalle (wt.-nd. 9.00-17.00; free admission to all branches of the museum).
The image gallery is the pearl in Dahlem's crown. The collections are arranged chronologically and cover the period from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century, and the most extensive is the collection of Dutch paintings. It begins with the hall 143 works of the artist, who is credited with the role of the forerunner of European realism, Jana van Eycka: his beautifully lit painting of Madonna in the Church is full of architectural details, and the Virgin Mary is delicately highlighted with a shortened perspective.
The portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini depicts a figure better known from the wedding portrait located in the National Gallery in London. Petrus Christus may have practiced with Eyck, or at least he must have known his works, as seen in the painting Madonna and Child, Saint Barbara with a Carthusian monk: in the background you can see tiny Flemish houses and street scenes, because the artist placed his group in his native Bruges; his Last Judgment, in turn, is full of medieval visions.
The characters in Dieric Bouts' paintings are usually quite rigid and formalized, but his Christ in the house of Simon the Pharisee has a perfect grasp of gesture, facial expressions and detail – especially dishes and shoes.
The larger part of the next room is devoted to the works of Rogier van der Weyden, which show the development of Eyck's technique towards the warmer one, more emotional treatment of religious topics. As in his painting in the altar from the church of St.. Columbus, located today in the Old Pinakothek in Munich, the figures in the Picture from the Bladelin Altar are presented in delicate poses and with great humanism, which was to have a huge impact on the painting of the 15th century.