Between Cosmos and Pathos
Berlin Works from Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas

08.08.2020 to 01.11.2020

Running concurrently to the exhibition Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne – The Original at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the Gemäldegalerie will be showing artworks ranging from prehistory and early history through to the modern age that Warburg used as the basis for his encyclopaedic image collection. In a kind of three-dimensional restaging of the collection, works from 10 of the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin enter into a striking dialogue with Warburg’s magnum opus.

Aby Warburg (1866–1929) was one of the most important art historians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who tirelessly investigated the “afterlife” of classical motifs in post-Renaissance European culture. Warburg was convinced that antiquity represented not only a schematic model for the artists of the Renaissance, but also contained an archetypal, emotional meaning that crystallised in key motifs and central themes. Warburg’s final work was a gigantic compilation of almost 1,000 photographs in his library in Hamburg, called Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, which provided an overview of his studies of the previous decade, and at the same time sought to signal new directions in the study of images.

Original Works on Cosmos and Pathos

In an exhibition at the HKW opening in the autumn of 2020, the Mnemosyne Atlas will be presented in its original layout for the first time since 1929. At the same time, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will pay tribute to this influential theorist of the image with a presentation of roughly 50 original artworks that were selected by Warburg for the Mnemosyne Atlas’s sections on the themes of cosmos and pathos.

Warburg’s Complex Thought Visualised

The works from 10 of the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – the antiquities collection of the Gipsformerei, the Kunstbibliothek, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, the Kupferstichkabinett, the Museum Europäischer Kulturen, the Münzkabinett, the Skulpturensammlung, the Vorderasiatisches Museum and the Gemäldegalerie, which features prominently with its masterpieces by van Eyck, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Rembrandt and Rubens – impressively display the wealth of the Berlin collections, illustrate the relationships between works and cultures across space and time, and at the same time shed light on the complex thought that underlies Aby Warburg’s magnum opus.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Judith with her Maidservant, 1489
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

U-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Bus: Potsdamer Brücke, Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße, Kulturforum, Philharmonie

Sun 11:00 - 18:00
Mon closed
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 18:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00

Opening times on public holidays Opening hours
The Studiengalerie is currently closed.


Old Master Paintings
10,00 EUR Concessions 5,00
Buy ticket

Kulturforum all exhibitions
16,00 EUR Concessions 8,00
all exhibitions
Buy ticket

Annual membership Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

from just 25,00 EUR

Annual Passes for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Tel 030 - 266 42 42 42 (Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm)
Questions | Bookings | Feedback

Related Links

Exhibition „Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne – The Original“ at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Exhibition catalogue (German only) in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin webshop

Virtual Exhibition