July 13 – October 6, 2019
Barberini Museum presents masterpieces from the collections of Palazzi Barberini and Corsini Rome
The Museum Barberini will be presenting 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzi Barberini and Corsini Rome, including one of Caravaggio’s most important works, his 1589/99 painting Narcissus. During his pontificate as Pope Urban VIII in the 17th century, Maffeo Barberini collected pictures and commissioned paintings that are now among the major works of Italian baroque.
The exhibition, the Museum Barberini’s first project focusing on the Old Masters, will highlight the themes and stylistic developments of baroque art in Rome. The Foundation Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin Brandenburg (SPSG) and the City of Potsdam along with the Museum Barberini are using the opportunity presented by the exhibition to celebrate Italian art and culture. An app designed as a walking tour of Potsdam’s Roman monuments will explore these works of art.
Italy in Potsdam
The exhibition is the centrepiece of the Summer Festival Italy in Potsdam. Together with the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the Museum Barberini invites you to extend your visit to the exhibition to the Italian-inspired buildings and sculptures in Sanssouci - with the digital hiking guide to the Barberini App, spoken by Günther Jauch.
For many centuries, Prussian kings found inspiration in Italy for the development of Potsdam, their principal residence. Frederick the Great and Frederick William IV were particularly passionate and knowledgeable about Italian art and architecture. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they created a refined “Prussian Arcadia,” which also served to display their power and authority. They built a cultural landscape filled with buildings and artworks, either originals or in the style of Roman antiquity, renaissance, baroque or classicism.
The cooperation with the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg enables the loan of two paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi, acquired by Frederick II, which have been in the Neues Palais since 1769. After 250 years, they have been specially restored for the exhibition and are leaving their location for the first time.
Friedrich did not know that the two paintings were painted by Artemisia Gentileschi. It was not until the 20th century that it was discovered that these were works by the female painter from Rome. She was the first woman to pursue an independent career as a painter and already gained recognition throughout Europe during her lifetime. Her work, however, had fallen into oblivion well into the 20th century.
The paintings, which were permanently built into the walls of the Upper Hall of the New Palace of Sanssouci in 1768, were removed for restoration. Overpaintings, yellowed varnish and dirt covered the original surfaces. The particular quality of Artemisia's paintings came to the fore. In the representation of Lucretia, the head of Tarquinius was completely painted over. After the removal of the overpaintings, the depiction of the king's son now reappears in its original freshness.