Women

“Women” is the second integrated exhibition in the series The Second Glance, and was produced in collaboration with the organisation Frauentreff Olga, a drop-in and counselling centre for drug-using women, trans women, and sex workers. The show analyses the traditional gender roles and challenges the functions ascribed to women in society – for example, as goddesses, heroines, prostitutes, saints, queens, academics – and on the role of women in society. In six themed paths featuring 62 objects dating from the 4th to the 18th century, these women are situated within their own historical contexts and also discussed through the critical lens of the 21st century.

To this day, art history continues to be framed by a male perspective, and this perspective also defines the art-historical canon. The influence and histories of women were long ignored in Western museums. The invisibility of women continues to be a common feature of virtually all museums and collections of the so-called “Old Masters”.

Six Themed Paths through the Collection

The overarching goal of this exhibition is to expand the traditional museum discourse to incorporate some of the narratives, contributions and achievements of historical and contemporary women. To this end, we have put together six paths through the Bode-Museum which open up new perspectives on the artworks, while also suggesting new avenues for future research in the field.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst / Antje Voigt

Women Who Made History

The first path takes visitors on a tour through depictions of historical women who actively shaped the course of European history.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst / Antje Voigt

Women in Biblical and Christian Narratives

The second path presents women from the Bible and their historical reception in their respective historical contexts.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst / Antje Voigt

Women in Greco-Roman Mythology

The third path sheds light on the roles of goddesses and women from classical mythology, on their depiction in art and their interpretation in their respective contexts.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst / Jürgen Liepe

Men and Gender Equality

The fourth path takes a critical look at the contributions that some of the men represented in our collections have made to gender equality.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The (Missing) Women Artists

On the fifth path, we take a look at women artists and their (lacking) presence in the collections of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst in the Bode-Museum.

© Carolin Marie Kreutzfeldt

The View From the 21st Century

The sixth path presents the multifaceted perspectives and inspiring contributions of 21st-century Berlin women.

Photovoice Cabinet Display

In collaboration with Frauentreff Olga, the Bode-Museum is also exhibiting the display Photovoice, which will be on show for a whole year. In this display, 14 sex workers from 5 countries provide insights into their personal perspectives on the world, and their hopes and fears about living and working in and around Berlin’s Kurfürstenstrasse.

A Range of Informative Materials

The six themed paths of the project The Second Glance: Women can be explored at the museum by way of info-sheets, online, with the free digital catalogue (PDF, 2.6 MB), or through the print-on-demand catalogue. The topics outlined in these materials will then be explored in more depth in a series of talks to take place in autumn 2022. You can find additional information about the topics along with a timeline of the history of gender equality in German (generously provided by Bielefeld University) by clicking on the following links:

The Second Glance: Women is supported by the Friede Springer Stiftung and Museum&Location.

An exhibition project of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin