July 09, 2007

The French Masters from New York visits berlin

The Neue Nationalgalarie (new national gallery) in Berlin (picture Wikipedia) houses the collection of 20th century European painting and sculpture including paintings by Munch, Kirchner, Picasso, Klee and many others. The have a current exhibition going on titled "Die schönsten Franzosen kommen aus New York". It is an exhibition of around 150 works of French Master painters of the 19th century coming from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts of New York. Amongst the exhibits are works from Eugène Delacroix, Théodore Géricault, Théodore Chassériau; impressionist painters such as Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Auguste Renoir; Modernists like Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh (he is dutch but worked in France), and 20th century painters like Henri Matisse & Pablo Picasso.

Well after reading the names of the masters you can understand how important this exhibition is and the Berliner's are simply flocking towards it. Each day the exhibition is drawing thousands of visitors. If you buy the standard ticket (which is Euro 12) entrance is not guaranteed instantaneously. Visitors tickets are scanned during entry and exit so that they can allow fixed number of visitors at a given time. Entry can delay up to four-five hours depending on the crowd and they also devised a nifty free sms service that notifies you before 30 minutes of allowance of your entry. Well for those who are willing to pay a premium of Euro 30 can get the VIP ticket and instant access. However I felt that the exhibition is too crowded and there is no tranquility. (advertisement of the exhibition in Berlin streets - photo Wikipedia)

Our guide, an art student was very witty and informative with her speech. For an example she compared the academic painter Cabanel's Birth of Venus with another painter who painted nude Venus with hairs in the armpit making her more humane. She said that While Cabanel's work got prizes, experiments with Goddesses were deemed as a taboo in that era and were much controversial. But the painters dared to carry on with their freedom of expression. Even now depicting Goddesses not traditionally can invoke controversies and even personal attacks towards the painter in some parts of the World.


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