New display of early Netherlandish painting


The Gemäldegalerie Berlin lays claim to arguably the most important collection of 15th century Netherlandish painting anywhere in the world. To do full justice to the presentation of this unique collection, the decision was taken at the start of last year to devise an innovative new hanging scheme for the pictures. With the completion of the Rogier van der Weyden room, the finishing touches have now been made to the work that began in summer 2009.

The overhaul chiefly had two aims in mind: to make it easier to see the individual pictures up close and to place them in context alongside others, allowing meaningful comparisons to be drawn. The changes also mean that a few previously unseen, yet highly striking pictures are now revealed to the public for the first time.

New display cases have been produced for the miniature paintings on wood, including those of such world renown as the 'Portrait of a Young Girl’ by Petrus Christus. These cases not only offer optimal protection for the pictures, they also more importantly allow the works to be appreciated close up and in perfect lighting. The works are now on display in Room 4 of the Gemäldegalerie. As of summer 2009, drawings and prints from the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) are on show in the display cases on the wall in Room 5, which until recently had held the miniatures. Further high points can be sampled in Saal V of the gallery, including key works by Ghent artist Hugo van der Goes, early northern Netherlandish painting centring around Albert van Ouwater and large-scale French works by Jean Fouquet and others. Saal IV has been given a complete overhaul which now sees two large altar panels (both wings of the Saint-Omer Retable depicting the life of St. Bertin painted by Simon Marmion) visible on both sides at once. The oak panels completed in 1459 were acquired in 1905 and are adorned with figures on both the front and back.