Small Masterpieces

30.03.2017 to 11.03.2018
Alte Nationalgalerie

Studies and sketches, miniatures, and completed works in small, intimate formats have been a focus of the Nationalgalerie Collection ever since its founding. To mark the publication of a catalogue of the collection’s holdings of 19th century painting, Alte Nationalgalerie presents a selection of “small masterpieces” that have rarely, if at all, been exhibited until now. Over fifty paintings and sixty miniatures by painters such as Anna Dorothea Therbusch, Moritz von Schwind, Friedrich Wasmann, Anselm Feuerbach, Hans Thom and several less prominent artists are on view in this cabinet exhibition.  

Daring studies of nature, paintings of travel, and animal motifs document the artists’ pleasure in the unspectacular, their enthusiasm for forms, colors, and the haptic, for light and weather in constant variation. Compositional and painting sketches as well as figural studies open insights into the artists’ way of working. Precisely observed, these striking portraits and self-portraits reveal an attention to detail that is similar to the painting of miniatures.

The works exhibited present a wide-ranging spectrum of aesthetic interests from the enlightenment to romanticism, realism and pre-impressionism.

Our thanks to the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung for their generous support of the restoration of the works shown as part of the initiative "Art in Storage".

View of the catalogue, volume 1 (left) and catalogue 2 (right)
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie
Adolph Menzel, Bauplatz mit Weiden, 1846 (Detail)
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders

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