Museum time, the rain continues

Berliner Don, completed in 1905, lacks, to my eyes, the graceful elegance of Gothic cathedrals.  But maybe that’s just my former Catholic bias.

A view from a bridge of the Alte Museum, reflecting the imperial design.  One cannot look at the skyline without noting cranes hovering over construction projects.  Museum Island was in the former East zone of Berlin and many of its buildings needed refurbishing after the ouster of the East German regime.

The Pergamon facade, not a Christo exhibit.  The Pergamon, nearby, has been under reconstruction for years and is not slated for reopening in for several more.


The Alte Museum close up.

Right next to the Alte Museum is the Neues Museum features an outstanding collection of Egyptian and classical antiquities as well as artifacts collected by collected by Heinrich Schliemann, the excavator of Troy. I read once that Kaiser Wilhelm, wanting to out-do the British in every arena, not just in navy size, emphasized the collection of Egyptian and Aegean objects, trying, no doubt, to go one better than the Elgin Marbles. So with usual efficiency, his scholars helped developed the field of ancient and classical archeology, collecting specimens with a rigor that probably bordered on ruthlessness.

The museum name clearly suggests “new,” obviously not referring to its collections. The museum was built after and next to the Altes (old) Museum, for the Prussian royal collection.

I find it hard to concentrate in museum spaces with over-laden trays of artifacts, so I focused on something more approachable, the palpable presence of historical and imaginative figures staring at me from calm repose.


A nameless Egyptian and a named Roman.  Vespasian is not one of the emperors who comes to mind when one thinks of “the glory that was Rome,” but he was on the imperial throne when the armies destroyed Jerusalem.  He founded the Flavian dynasty which lasted all of 27 years.  The Romans had trouble for a few hundred years keeping a good head of government. I tried understanding the history of the post Ceasar emperors and got lost in the names.

An imperial fanner, at the ready, to wave away flies from an Egyptian king.


A Roman homage to the Greek sun god, Helios.  I think I just discovered where Michaelangelo got some of the inspiration for his own sculpting.


The bust of Nefertiti.  Over 3000 years old, she presents a calm and serene gaze rivaling that of Mona Lisa.  The bust is at the center of the Neues and is one of the major objects in the German museums.  The bust gets its own small room, quiet and dark, under a dome.  It is, fortunately, more accessible than the Mona Lisa, without the hordes of gawkers extending selfie sticks over the crowd to commemorate their visits.  I have to apologize and report that this is not a museum photograph since photography is not permitted in the bust’s space.  So I took a picture of a post card to remind you of what is here.

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