About the collection
The Friedrichswerdersche Kirche contains a unique ensemble of early 19th-century sculpture. The majority of works stem from the collection of the Alte Nationalgalerie and are enriched by several loans. Sculpture has been a core focus of the collecting activity at the Nationalgalerie ever since its founding. In the Alte Nationalgalerie on the Museumsinsel Berlin sculptural works are on permanent display on the building’s first floor. Isolated sculptures are also spread over the various individual galleries and thematically interact with the works on canvas, such as in the sculptures by Adolf von Hildebrand in the gallery of 'German-Roman' painting.
In 1987, the East-German authorities presented the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche to the Nationalgalerie for use as an additional exhibition space to coincide with the 750-year anniversary of Berlin’s founding. The collection’s sculptures dating from the 'Age of Schinkel' were restored over a period of three years from 1997 to 2000 and then newly installed in the church. The display aims to use this very special setting to highlight the dialogical relationship between architecture and sculpture and to illustrate the interconnectedness in the plastic arts of the work of architect and sculptor, the mutual influences and the exchange of artistic ideas between the two. Particularly noteworthy in this context, for example, is Heinrich Kümmel’s 'Fisher Boy' which originally stood in Palais Redern, another Schinkel-designed building (since demolished), once located at Pariser Platz at the opposite end of Unter den Linden. This particular piece of sculpture has again found a home in a setting designed by one of the greatest German architects, in the form of the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche. The permanent exhibition thus rekindles on a smaller scale the one-time planned, though never realized, Schinkel-Rauch-Museum, which would have held the combined artistic legacies of both artists to form a museum of Prussian Neoclassicism.
The original model of Johann Gottfried Schadow’s famous statue of Princesses Luise and Friederike of Prussia, on display in the nave, forms the centrepiece of the exhibition and unites its two major themes: ideal and portrait. The same can be said of the second version of the marble sarcophagus of Queen Luise by Christian Daniel Rauch. These two key works form the heart of a sculptural suite made up of such mythological and 'ideal' pieces as Ridolfo Schadow’s 'Sandal Binder' and Emil Wolff’s 'Nereid and Nymph'. Both sculptors were held in high esteem by Schinkel.
The portrait busts and statues of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Karl August von Hardenberg, and Immanuel Kant, on show in the nave, represent the great contemporaries of Schinkel, many of whom he was personally familiar with and whose ideas all decisively shaped the intellectual history of the time. Maquettes and small Neoclassical sculptures are exhibited in the organ gallery. They shed light on the artistic process itself, as well as the epoch’s diversity of artistic expression. The gallery also includes a detailed display documenting the life and work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
Titles of publication released by the Nationalgalerie are listed in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin bibliography.
Limited access for persons with mobility impairment
U-Bahn U2 (Hausvogteiplatz), U6 (Französische Straße)
Tram M1, 12 (Am Kupfergraben)
Bus M48, 347 (Jerusalemer Straße); TXL, 100, 200 (Staatsoper); 147 (Werderscher Markt)
The Friedrichswerdersche Kirche will remain closed until further notice
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 266424242 (Mon - Fri 9 am - 4 pm)
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 266422290
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 2081323
Director of the Nationalgalerie: Udo Kittelmann