THE distinctive character of the Berlin Museum of Old Masters lies in its educational value. With fewer masterpieces of the most famous painters than are found in the older museums of Germany it possesses the widest range of men whose work is typical of schools and periods. From Giotto to Tiepolo each step of artistic development in Italian art is shown, and if not at times by the most representative works, at least by secondary men who indicate the influences that held sway. Italy naturally is the place for the most complete study of Italian art, but it must not be forgotten that one has to travel from place to place to study the various schools and masters. Many museums in Europe also may boast of more numerous examples of different schools Vienna of the Venetians, London of the Quattrocento but Berlin offers the opportunity to study all the schools most comprehensively, if not exhaustively. This makes the Berlin Museum the best student gallery for what has been said of the Italian school refers with equal force to the German, Dutch and Flemish schools.
We may then observe here the primitive strivings in Italy for independent art expression of the fourteenth century, its gradual emancipation from Byzantine and Greek influences, and its searching for the new light which nature reveals. We may follow the various path-ways travelled, which gave the Florentines preeminence in form and movement, the Venetians in colour, and the more southern schools excellence in decorative description which, carried to excess, led to their early decadence. We will recognize that the uncouthness, the banality of the earliest men was but the sprouting of buds which in time blossomed in all the floral glory of the High Renaissance; that although their figures are hard, dry, and destitute of grace, they yet show in the study of the nude, in the expression of grief, in the adjustment of drapery, a real superiority over the Gothic work of men still earlier.
We will begin then our walk through the Museum with these earliest performers.
( Originally Published 1912 )
The Art of The Berlin Galleries:The Kaiser Friedrich Museum – History Of The CollectionThe Italian PaintingsRoom 29 – Italian Paintings Of The 14th, And The First Half Of The 15th CenturyRoom 30 – Florentine Paintings Of The 15th CenturySculpture In Marble Of Donatello And Desiderio, And Old Florentine PaintingsRooms 34 Ferrarese And Bolognese Paintings Of The 15th And 16th CenturiesRoom 35 – Lombard PaintingsRoom 64 – The Carpets After Raphael’s CartoonsRoom 38 – Florentine Paintings Of The 15th CenturyRoom 37 – Umbrian And Paduan Paintings Of The 15th CenturyRead More Articles About: The Art of The Berlin Galleries