Saturday, July 2, 2016

Berlin Culture Sites

Berlin is full of museums, and since we got a three-day museum pass, we've been trying to get full value. Today we went to the Gemäldegalerie, because it is hosting a major exhibition of Spanish painting in the age of El Greco and Velasquez, "El Siglo de Oro".

We didn't realize that the Gemäldegalerie is Germany's prime repository for 13th–18th C painting masterpieces: van der Weyden, Cranach, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt (an amazing number), Vermeer, etc. So after a couple of hours with Spain, and a light lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon with many of the highlights of art history. Here is one of the two Vermeers (complete with reflections from the gallery lights, unfortunately).

Across the street from the Gemäldegalerie is the Philharmonie, the home of the Berlin Philharmonic since it opened in 1963. I think it is one of the least attractive cultural buildings I've ever seen (despite its apparently fine acoustics), and I was unable to find a viewpoint from which I could take even an abstract picture of a part of the structure that satisfied me. It's neither dignified nor fun.

Fortunately, Berlin is still the home of lively billboards and graffiti (though I saw better when I was here in the 1990s, and East Berlin was a hippie paradise). 

Addendum: After a dinner and stroll in our Berlin neighborhood, here are three more pictures (taken with my iPhone) that capture the quirky vividness of the place.

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