Hailed in his own lifetime as the "Northern Michelangelo", Andreas Schlüter (1659/60 - 1714) was a baroque artist par excellence. Like the Italian master before him, Schlüter worked not only as a sculptor but also as an architect and designer of complex interior decorations that provided Berlin-Cölln, the burgeoning electoral seat, with its first sheen of European glamour.
To mark the 300th anniversary of Schlüter's death, the Bode-Museum on the Museumsinsel (Museum Island) has put together the first-ever comprehensive exhibition on this important Berlin artist, a show that also includes items on loan from abroad.
The exhibition addresses all aspects of Andreas Schlüter's varied career. Consisting of 230 objects ranging from sculpture, paintings and drawings to architectural sculpture and hand-crafted works, the exhibition resurrects the old, baroque centre of Berlin and allows Schlüter's works to be seen in relation to those of his Italian and French influences, artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francois Girardon.
The show is also very timely, coinciding with the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace, which was built to plans drawn up by Schlüter.
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A palace building-site hut
While works are proceeding on the Palace building site the Bode Museum is providing visitors with a fascinating insight into the sculptor's art. On the bay of the Monbijou Bridge, across from the Museum entrance, a Palace sculptor is currently working on a piece that will eventually adorn the façade. Visitors can gain a firsthand impression of the complexity of this highly creative craft, one that has changed little since Schlüter's day.
The exhibition across the city
Pay a visit, too, to the exhibition's "satellites" and savour works by Schlüter that have been preserved at their original locations.
Admire the grisly naturalism of Schlüter's heads of dying warriors, which grace the façade of the Zeughaus (Deutsches Historisches Museum).
Across from Museum Island is the Palace building site with its sample façade reflecting Schlüter's design. The best view of the site is from the Humboldt-Box. From there it is a few steps to the Berliner Dom, which contains the sarcophagi of Schlüter's patron, King Frederick I, and the royal consort, Queen Sophie Charlotte.
Prime examples of baroque splendour are provided by the pulpit in the Marienkirche and the formidable entrance to the Männlich crypt, erected in the Nicolaikirche by Schlüter in memory of his friend, the court goldsmith Daniel Männlich, and his family.
Somewhat removed from the old city centre, outside Charlottenburg Palace, stands the statue of the Great Elector on horseback. The horse-and-rider ensemble was originally located on the Lange Brücke, which opened onto Palace Square.
An additional attraction is on display in a branch of the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) in Köpenick Palace on the outskirts of the city: here can be found the only remaining original section of stucco ceiling from the Berlin Palace. The relic was the work of court stucco artist Giovanni Simonetti, a close colleague of Andreas Schlüter.
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