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Anna Dorothea Therbusch
A Berlin Woman Artist of the Age of Enlightenment

03.12.2021 to 10.04.2022

Three hundred years ago, on 23 July 1721, Anna Dorothea Therbusch was born in Berlin, who would go on to become one of the most important women artists of the 18th century. To mark the tercentenary of her birth, in autumn of 2021 the Gemäldegalerie is honouring this extraordinary artist and forerunner of women’s emancipation with a focussed special exhibition featuring key works from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s own collections.

The Unusual Career Path of Anna Doroethea Therbusch

The unusual career path of Anna Doroethea Therbusch (1721–1782) began early on. The daughter of the Prussian court painter Georg Lisiewsky, she and her siblings received her initial instruction as a painter from her father. As the wife of an innkeeper and mother of five children, however, for some time, her artistic abilities lay idle. In her forties, though, she dedicated herself to painting with great vigour, and in 1767 she was one of the few women to be accepted into Europe’s most important art school of the time, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in Paris. After returning to her home town, she became a highly sought-after portrait painter, and with likenesses of figures such as Henriette Herz, Frederick the Great and the doctor Christian Andreas Cothenius, one of the most important chroniclers of the Age of Enlightenment.

Works by the Great Berlin Women Artist in the Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie

Not just one, but two of the branches of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin boast works by this great local artist in their collections, namely the Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie. These collections have also provided museums right across the city with permanent loans, with Therbusch’s work on display at the Bode-Museum, the Kunstgewerbemuseum and at the Jewish Museum Berlin. One of her best-known works is her large-format self-portrait from around 1782, which is displayed at the Gemäldegalerie. In this work, Therbusch presents herself as a scholar and elegant figure of note, and as an approachable and intelligent interlocutor, demonstrating her interest in both objects and her conversation partner through the book in her hand and her frontal gaze.

Gemäldegalerie Shows the Entire Collection of Therbusch Works from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

To mark this tercentenary, in autumn 2021, the Gemäldegalerie is gathering together almost the entire collection of Therbusch works in the holdings of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in a focussed special exhibition centred around this major work. Complemented by key works from contemporaries, the show provides a comprehensive overview of the oeuvre and professional milieu of Anna Dorothea Therbusch, and of the age in which she lived.

A special presentation by the Gemäldegalerie in cooperation with the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Anna Dorothea Therbusch, Self-portrait, detail, c. 1782
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Jörg P. Anders
The Second Glance: Women
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

30.10.2021 to 30.10.2022

10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

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

Sun 10:00 - 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 10:00 - 18:00

Opening times on public holidays Opening Hours

Old Master Paintings Paintings from the 13th to 18th century
12,00 EUR Concessions 6,00
Paintings from the 13th to 18th century
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Annual Ticket from 25,00 EUR
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Tel 030 - 266 42 42 42 (Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm)
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Related Links

Bode-Museum: “The Second Glance: Women”, 30.10.2021 until further notice

Research project: “Anna Dorothea Therbusch, a Woman Artist from Berlin in the Age of Enlightenment: Works, Techniques, Contexts”