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Caravaggio, Narzissus, 1597–1599, detail. © Photo: Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica di Roma – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte / Mauro Coen
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July 13 – October 6, 2019

Baroque Pathways

Barberini Museum presents masterpieces from the collections of Palazzi Barberini and Corsini Rome

From 13 July to 6 October 2019, the Barberini Museum is showing the exhibition Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome. 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini are on display in Potsdam, including one of Caravaggio's early works, his 1597–99 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.

Baroque Pathways
Experts on the Exhibition

In the 17th century Pope Urban VIII and his family Barberini made Rome the centre of the Baroque. The curators Maurizia Cicconi, Michele Di Monte (both Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini, Rome) and Inés Richter-Musso as well as Franziska Windt, custodian for paintings of the Romanesque schools, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, and Sebastian Schütze, dean of the Faculty of Historical-Cultural Sciences, University of Vienna, talk in the video about the art style, the importance of the Palazzo Barberini as well as the longing for Italy of the Prussian kings.

What role did the Palazzo Barberini in Rome play in this? And how can we explain this longing for Italy that felt people all over Europe, and which also inspired Frederick the Great to model buildings in Potsdam on Italian architecture?

In the 17th century Pope Urban VIII and his family Barberini made Rome the centre of the Baroque. The curators Maurizia Cicconi, Michele Di Monte (both Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini, Rome) and Inés Richter-Musso as well as Franziska Windt, custodian for paintings of the Romanesque schools, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, and Sebastian Schütze, dean of the Faculty of Historical-Cultural Sciences, University of Vienna, talk in the video about the art style, the importance of the Palazzo Barberini as well as the longing for Italy of the Prussian kings.

What role did the Palazzo Barberini in Rome play in this? And how can we explain this longing for Italy that felt people all over Europe, and which also inspired Frederick the Great to model buildings in Potsdam on Italian architecture?

Take a Walk with the Barberini App
Explore Potsdam!

The exhibition Baroque Pathways at the Museum Barberini invites you to explore Italian influences in Potsdam’s cityscape. Stroll through the city with the audio tour Italy in Potsdam and discover 30 Italianate buildings and artworks, from the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church)—modeled on St. Peter’s in Rome—and the Brandenburg Gate, which was inspired by the Arch of Constantine, to the Orangery Palace in Sanssouci, whose architecture unmistakably mirrors the Villa Medici in Rome. The city tour, available in German, English and Italian, will accompany you through the city and reveal surprising visual comparisons between Potsdam and Italy.

Barberini Digital encompasses all the museum’s digital projects: From the Barberini Guide to the virtual education in the museum. Use the Barberini App to learn more about ongoing exhibitions at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam: You can explore the museum in 360° panoramas before you even enter the doors. You can see all the tours for kids and adults at a glance. Select your audio guide and use the app to help you navigate your way through the museum. The app also contains all the information you need to plan your visit, as well as video interviews with curators and other experts.

The exhibition Baroque Pathways at the Museum Barberini invites you to explore Italian influences in Potsdam’s cityscape. Stroll through the city with the audio tour Italy in Potsdam and discover 30 Italianate buildings and artworks, from the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church)—modeled on St. Peter’s in Rome—and the Brandenburg Gate, which was inspired by the Arch of Constantine, to the Orangery Palace in Sanssouci, whose architecture unmistakably mirrors the Villa Medici in Rome. The city tour, available in German, English and Italian, will accompany you through the city and reveal surprising visual comparisons between Potsdam and Italy.

Barberini Digital encompasses all the museum’s digital projects: From the Barberini Guide to the virtual education in the museum. Use the Barberini App to learn more about ongoing exhibitions at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam: You can explore the museum in 360° panoramas before you even enter the doors. You can see all the tours for kids and adults at a glance. Select your audio guide and use the app to help you navigate your way through the museum. The app also contains all the information you need to plan your visit, as well as video interviews with curators and other experts.

Giovanni Baglione (1566–1644), Sacred and Profane Love (detail), before 1603, Oil on canvas, 240 x 143 cm, Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rome © Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte, Photo: Enrico Fontolan

Giovanni Baglione (1566–1644), Sacred and Profane Love (detail), before 1603, Oil on canvas, 240 x 143 cm, Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rome © Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte, Photo: Enrico Fontolan

About the Exhibition

From July 13 to October 6, 2019, the Museum Barberini is presenting its first old master exhibition: Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome showcases 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini in Rome, among them an early work by Caravaggio, his painting Narcissus of 1597–1599. Tracing the birth of Roman Baroque painting in the wake of Caravaggio, its spread through Europe and development north of the Alps and in Naples, the exhibition explores the role of the Barberini as patrons of the arts and the Prussian kings’ yearning for Italy.

The Barberini at the Barberini

A selection of 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini has traveled from Rome to Potsdam. The Palazzo Barberini, the architectural inspiration for the Barberini Palace in Potsdam, holds one of the world’s most important collections of baroque paintings. Together with the Galleria Corsini, it is home to the Italian national galleries. Ortrud Westheider, Director of the Museum Barberini: “It is a great honor and a mark of recognition for the still young Museum Barberini to cooperate with the illustrious national galleries. It has always been our dream to collaborate on an exhibition with our renowned namesake, Rome.” Flaminia Gennari Santori, Director of the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rome: “We are delighted to present our museum and a part of our collection in Potsdam, a city with so many points of contact with the art and architecture of Rome.”

Pietro da Cortona’s monumental ceiling fresco from the Gran Salone of the Palazzo Barberini welcomes visitors to the Potsdam exhibition in form of a ceiling projection. The famous painting celebrates the power of the Barberini, one of the most important families in seventeenth-century Rome. Virtues frame the Allegory of Divine Providence and present the papal tiara and the keys of Saint Peter’s. The fresco was commissioned by Maffeo Barberini, a patron of poets and men of letters who, as a young man, had his portrait painted by Caravaggio. Even before his election to the Holy See in 1623, he had surrounded himself with writers and scholars, and begun assembling an art collection. As Pope Urban VIII, he became one of the leading art patrons and transformed Rome into the capital of the Baroque. During his pontificate, the basilica of Saint Peter was completed and consecrated. New streets and squares were created that continue to shape the face of the city today. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1848), Urban VIII did not support any of the warring factions, preferring instead to remain neutral and to pursue his dream of initiating a Golden Age of painting, architecture, literature and music that would rival the Renaissance. Yet his pontificate was marked by the rise of violent assertion of religious dogma, which led to the Roman Inquisition. Galileo, a friend of Urban VIII, was investigated by the Inquisition and forced to recant his teachings.

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Caravaggio’s focus on the decisive moment of a narrative brought about a new kind of art. His chiaroscuro effects broke with all accepted norms and made him one of the pioneers of baroque painting. His work was controversial: while his supporters praised his daring stylistic innovations, his detractors disparaged him as disrespectful and as an anarchist out to destroy the time-honored values of painting. Among the many outstanding works coming to Potsdam is an early work by Caravaggio, his Narcissus (1597–1599). Ortrud Westheider: “Caravaggio shows a young man looking at his reflection—Narcissus, whose vain infatuation with himself was his undoing. The painting is famous for its focus on the dramatic turning point. Its modernity, the way in which the painted image reflects the power and potential of painting, has lost none of its fascination.”

Violence and Salvation: Caravaggio and his Circle

Coinciding with the Counter-Reformation and religious wars across Europe, Caravaggio’s realism hit a nerve. The crusade against Protestantism, condemned as heretical, encouraged a new form of fervent piety and religious mysticism that is evident in Orazio Gentileschi’s emotionally charged painting Saint Francis Supported by an Angel (ca. 1612). At the same time, paintings like Giovanni Baglione’s Sacred and Profane Love (before 1603) testify to the violence of the period and to a new self-confidence on the part of the artists who responded to the tension between the artistic sophistication and strict clericalism of early seventeenth-century Rome.

Like Caravaggio, the artists in his circle studied models who came from the poorest parts of Rome. This practice invested the monumental altarpieces and paintings of saints with an unprecedented poignancy. Devotional images came to life and were reinterpreted as scenes of everyday life. Thus Carlo Saraceni, another contemporary of Caravaggio, presents us with an unhappy Christ Child in his unglamorously domestic Madonna and Child with Saint Anne (ca. 1611).

Dramas of the Demimonde: The Caravaggisti in Naples

His involvement in a fatal brawl drove Caravaggio to flee Rome for Naples, then under Spanish rule. His style inspired numerous local artists. Luca Giordano and Battistello Caracciolo adopted not only his close focus and the monumentalization of his figures but also experimented with his dramatic lighting. They updated the stories of ancient philosophers and Christian saints and followed Caravaggio’s lead in presenting the historical events as if they unfolded on a stage. In Venus and Adonis (1637), Jusepe de Ribera chose the dramatic moment in which Venus lays eyes on her mortally wounded lover. The Spanish-born painter, who had seen Caravaggio’s works in Rome in 1615, admired his sense of drama and his consummate handling of implicit and explicit violence.

Light and Shadow: The Caravaggisti in Northern Europe

Painters from Flanders and France brought their artistic conventions to Rome and drew on the classically inspired style shaped by Raphael and Michelangelo. Simon Vouet and Matthias Stom adopted the strikingly lit interiors and nocturnal scenes popularized by Caravaggio and his circle. Their own treatment of light and shade—often symbolizing good and bad—became a new, highly specialized form of art that met with great acclaim in their home countries. Michael Sweerts’s The Artist at Work (mid-seventeenth century) similarly follows the chiaroscuro trend, but also mirrors the controversy about the competing styles of Caravaggio and Guido Reni, who had died in 1610 and 1642 respectively. Was art to depict reality, as Caravaggio contended, or was it, as Reni held, to emulate classical models and ideals? Playing with these opposing points of view, Sweerts defied the dogmas of the generations of artists before him.

Allegories of the Arts: German Collector Preferences

The Grand Tour, an educational journey which included an extensive sojourn in Italy and focused on antiquity, art and architecture, was an obligatory rite of passage for young European aristocrats. By the eighteenth century, private collections, like that of the Barberini, began to form an increasingly important part of the itinerary. For German princes, they became a model of their own collecting ambitions. They looked for classical subjects and had a penchant for allegories of the arts, epitomized in Rome by the work of Simon Vouet, Salvator Rosa, and Prospero Muti. The female figure holding a palette and paintbrush in Simon Vouet’s Allegory of Painting (Self-portrait) of the early 1620s is probably a portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous female painter of the period. The exhibition presents two works by her from the collection of the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin Brandenburg).

Gallery of Foolishness: Italian Baroque Paintings in the New Palace in Potsdam

On loan from the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the two paintings, Lucretia and Sextus Tarquinius (ca. 1630) and David and Bathsheba (ca. 1635), leave the New Palace in Potsdam for the first time in 250 years to exemplify the influence of Roman baroque painting on German collections. When Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, acquired the paintings for the New Palace, he did not know that they had been painted by a woman. In 1769 he set up an Italian gallery with works by Giordano Bruni and Guido Reni as well as the two paintings now attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi. With its emphasis on biblical and mythological subjects, the gallery explored the disastrous consequences of male desire. The Prussian king, whose Sanssouci Palace, Ruinenberg and Barberini Palace drew on imperial as well as bucolic models, confronted his successor, Frederick William II, with this “Gallery of Foolishness.”

Palazzo Barberini: The Architectural Model for the Museum Barberini in Potsdam

The Museum Barberini was named after the Barberini Palace, built by Frederick the Great in central Potsdam. Destroyed in the Second World War, it was reconstructed as a modern museum on the original site by the Hasso Plattner Foundation between 2013 and 2016. The Prussian king, Frederick the Great, wanted an Italian piazza in Potsdam and found inspiration in an engraving of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome by Giambattista Piranesi. With this reference to Pope Urban VIII, a great patron of the arts, Frederick II laid claim to being an equally astute collector and connoisseur of art. Frederick and his successor, Frederick William II, commissioned numerous Italianate buildings in Potsdam.

Museum Barberini as a Starting Point for an Exploration of Italy in Potsdam

Complementing the exhibition Baroque Pathways, the Museum Barberini invites visitors to explore the Italian influence on Potsdam’s cityscape. The audio tour Italy in Potsdam on the Barberini App directs visitors to 30 Italianate buildings and works of art of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Available in three languages (German, English and Italian), the self-guided city tour draws intriguing visual comparisons between Potsdam and Italy.

Italy in Potsdam

To mark the exhibition Baroque Pathways, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the city of Potsdam and the Museum Barberini are turning the summer of 2019 into a citywide celebration of Italian art and culture. Guided tours, concerts, talks, film screenings, an open night at the Potsdam palaces, and many other events show Potsdam at it most Italianate. For more information on Italy in Potsdam, see (German only) https://www.potsdamtourismus.de/italien-in-potsdam/

About the Exhibition

From July 13 to October 6, 2019, the Museum Barberini is presenting its first old master exhibition: Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome showcases 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini in Rome, among them an early work by Caravaggio, his painting Narcissus of 1597–1599. Tracing the birth of Roman Baroque painting in the wake of Caravaggio, its spread through Europe and development north of the Alps and in Naples, the exhibition explores the role of the Barberini as patrons of the arts and the Prussian kings’ yearning for Italy.

The Barberini at the Barberini

A selection of 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini has traveled from Rome to Potsdam. The Palazzo Barberini, the architectural inspiration for the Barberini Palace in Potsdam, holds one of the world’s most important collections of baroque paintings. Together with the Galleria Corsini, it is home to the Italian national galleries. Ortrud Westheider, Director of the Museum Barberini: “It is a great honor and a mark of recognition for the still young Museum Barberini to cooperate with the illustrious national galleries. It has always been our dream to collaborate on an exhibition with our renowned namesake, Rome.” Flaminia Gennari Santori, Director of the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rome: “We are delighted to present our museum and a part of our collection in Potsdam, a city with so many points of contact with the art and architecture of Rome.”

Pietro da Cortona’s monumental ceiling fresco from the Gran Salone of the Palazzo Barberini welcomes visitors to the Potsdam exhibition in form of a ceiling projection. The famous painting celebrates the power of the Barberini, one of the most important families in seventeenth-century Rome. Virtues frame the Allegory of Divine Providence and present the papal tiara and the keys of Saint Peter’s. The fresco was commissioned by Maffeo Barberini, a patron of poets and men of letters who, as a young man, had his portrait painted by Caravaggio. Even before his election to the Holy See in 1623, he had surrounded himself with writers and scholars, and begun assembling an art collection. As Pope Urban VIII, he became one of the leading art patrons and transformed Rome into the capital of the Baroque. During his pontificate, the basilica of Saint Peter was completed and consecrated. New streets and squares were created that continue to shape the face of the city today. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1848), Urban VIII did not support any of the warring factions, preferring instead to remain neutral and to pursue his dream of initiating a Golden Age of painting, architecture, literature and music that would rival the Renaissance. Yet his pontificate was marked by the rise of violent assertion of religious dogma, which led to the Roman Inquisition. Galileo, a friend of Urban VIII, was investigated by the Inquisition and forced to recant his teachings.

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Caravaggio’s focus on the decisive moment of a narrative brought about a new kind of art. His chiaroscuro effects broke with all accepted norms and made him one of the pioneers of baroque painting. His work was controversial: while his supporters praised his daring stylistic innovations, his detractors disparaged him as disrespectful and as an anarchist out to destroy the time-honored values of painting. Among the many outstanding works coming to Potsdam is an early work by Caravaggio, his Narcissus (1597–1599). Ortrud Westheider: “Caravaggio shows a young man looking at his reflection—Narcissus, whose vain infatuation with himself was his undoing. The painting is famous for its focus on the dramatic turning point. Its modernity, the way in which the painted image reflects the power and potential of painting, has lost none of its fascination.”

Violence and Salvation: Caravaggio and his Circle

Coinciding with the Counter-Reformation and religious wars across Europe, Caravaggio’s realism hit a nerve. The crusade against Protestantism, condemned as heretical, encouraged a new form of fervent piety and religious mysticism that is evident in Orazio Gentileschi’s emotionally charged painting Saint Francis Supported by an Angel (ca. 1612). At the same time, paintings like Giovanni Baglione’s Sacred and Profane Love (before 1603) testify to the violence of the period and to a new self-confidence on the part of the artists who responded to the tension between the artistic sophistication and strict clericalism of early seventeenth-century Rome.

Like Caravaggio, the artists in his circle studied models who came from the poorest parts of Rome. This practice invested the monumental altarpieces and paintings of saints with an unprecedented poignancy. Devotional images came to life and were reinterpreted as scenes of everyday life. Thus Carlo Saraceni, another contemporary of Caravaggio, presents us with an unhappy Christ Child in his unglamorously domestic Madonna and Child with Saint Anne (ca. 1611).

Dramas of the Demimonde: The Caravaggisti in Naples

His involvement in a fatal brawl drove Caravaggio to flee Rome for Naples, then under Spanish rule. His style inspired numerous local artists. Luca Giordano and Battistello Caracciolo adopted not only his close focus and the monumentalization of his figures but also experimented with his dramatic lighting. They updated the stories of ancient philosophers and Christian saints and followed Caravaggio’s lead in presenting the historical events as if they unfolded on a stage. In Venus and Adonis (1637), Jusepe de Ribera chose the dramatic moment in which Venus lays eyes on her mortally wounded lover. The Spanish-born painter, who had seen Caravaggio’s works in Rome in 1615, admired his sense of drama and his consummate handling of implicit and explicit violence.

Light and Shadow: The Caravaggisti in Northern Europe

Painters from Flanders and France brought their artistic conventions to Rome and drew on the classically inspired style shaped by Raphael and Michelangelo. Simon Vouet and Matthias Stom adopted the strikingly lit interiors and nocturnal scenes popularized by Caravaggio and his circle. Their own treatment of light and shade—often symbolizing good and bad—became a new, highly specialized form of art that met with great acclaim in their home countries. Michael Sweerts’s The Artist at Work (mid-seventeenth century) similarly follows the chiaroscuro trend, but also mirrors the controversy about the competing styles of Caravaggio and Guido Reni, who had died in 1610 and 1642 respectively. Was art to depict reality, as Caravaggio contended, or was it, as Reni held, to emulate classical models and ideals? Playing with these opposing points of view, Sweerts defied the dogmas of the generations of artists before him.

Allegories of the Arts: German Collector Preferences

The Grand Tour, an educational journey which included an extensive sojourn in Italy and focused on antiquity, art and architecture, was an obligatory rite of passage for young European aristocrats. By the eighteenth century, private collections, like that of the Barberini, began to form an increasingly important part of the itinerary. For German princes, they became a model of their own collecting ambitions. They looked for classical subjects and had a penchant for allegories of the arts, epitomized in Rome by the work of Simon Vouet, Salvator Rosa, and Prospero Muti. The female figure holding a palette and paintbrush in Simon Vouet’s Allegory of Painting (Self-portrait) of the early 1620s is probably a portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous female painter of the period. The exhibition presents two works by her from the collection of the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin Brandenburg).

Gallery of Foolishness: Italian Baroque Paintings in the New Palace in Potsdam

On loan from the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the two paintings, Lucretia and Sextus Tarquinius (ca. 1630) and David and Bathsheba (ca. 1635), leave the New Palace in Potsdam for the first time in 250 years to exemplify the influence of Roman baroque painting on German collections. When Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, acquired the paintings for the New Palace, he did not know that they had been painted by a woman. In 1769 he set up an Italian gallery with works by Giordano Bruni and Guido Reni as well as the two paintings now attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi. With its emphasis on biblical and mythological subjects, the gallery explored the disastrous consequences of male desire. The Prussian king, whose Sanssouci Palace, Ruinenberg and Barberini Palace drew on imperial as well as bucolic models, confronted his successor, Frederick William II, with this “Gallery of Foolishness.”

Palazzo Barberini: The Architectural Model for the Museum Barberini in Potsdam

The Museum Barberini was named after the Barberini Palace, built by Frederick the Great in central Potsdam. Destroyed in the Second World War, it was reconstructed as a modern museum on the original site by the Hasso Plattner Foundation between 2013 and 2016. The Prussian king, Frederick the Great, wanted an Italian piazza in Potsdam and found inspiration in an engraving of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome by Giambattista Piranesi. With this reference to Pope Urban VIII, a great patron of the arts, Frederick II laid claim to being an equally astute collector and connoisseur of art. Frederick and his successor, Frederick William II, commissioned numerous Italianate buildings in Potsdam.

Museum Barberini as a Starting Point for an Exploration of Italy in Potsdam

Complementing the exhibition Baroque Pathways, the Museum Barberini invites visitors to explore the Italian influence on Potsdam’s cityscape. The audio tour Italy in Potsdam on the Barberini App directs visitors to 30 Italianate buildings and works of art of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Available in three languages (German, English and Italian), the self-guided city tour draws intriguing visual comparisons between Potsdam and Italy.

Italy in Potsdam

To mark the exhibition Baroque Pathways, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the city of Potsdam and the Museum Barberini are turning the summer of 2019 into a citywide celebration of Italian art and culture. Guided tours, concerts, talks, film screenings, an open night at the Potsdam palaces, and many other events show Potsdam at it most Italianate. For more information on Italy in Potsdam, see (German only) https://www.potsdamtourismus.de/italien-in-potsdam/

Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome

Das Museum Barberini zeigt vom 13. Juli bis 6. Oktober 2019 mit Wege des Barock. Die Nationalgalerien Barberini Corsini in Rom seine erste Ausstellung im Bereich der Alten Meister. 54 Meisterwerke aus dem Palazzo Barberini und der Galleria Corsini sind zu Gast in Potsdam, darunter eines der frühen Werke Caravaggios, sein 1597–1599 entstandenes Gemälde Narziss. Die Schau zeichnet die von Caravaggio ausgehende Entstehung der römischen Barockmalerei nach und folgt ihrer Ausstrahlung nach Europa und der Entwicklung nördlich der Alpen ebenso wie in Neapel. Die Ausstellung schlägt den Bogen von den Barberini als Förderer der Künste bis zur Italiensehnsucht der preußischen Könige.

Das Barberini im Barberini

54 Meisterwerke aus dem Palazzo Barberini und der Galleria Corsini sind für Wege des Barock zu Gast in Potsdam. Der Palazzo Barberini, das architektonische Vorbild für das Palais Barberini in Potsdam, verfügt über eine der wichtigsten Sammlungen römischer Barockmalerei weltweit. Zusammen mit der Galleria Corsini beherbergt er die italienischen Nationalgalerien. Ortrud Westheider, Direktorin des Museums Barberini: „Es ist eine große Ehre und auch Anerkennung des noch jungen Museums Barberini, mit den traditionsreichen Nationalgalerien kooperieren zu können. Es war von Anfang an unser Wunsch, mit der Sammlung unserer Namensschwester eine Ausstellung zu realisieren." Flaminia Gennari Santori, Direktorin der italienischen National­galerien Barberini Corsini in Rom: „Wir freuen uns, dass wir unser Museum und einen Teil seiner Sammlung gerade in Potsdam vorstellen können, einer Stadt mit so zahlreichen Anknüpfungspunkten an die Kunst und Architektur Roms.“

Pietro da Cortonas monumentales Deckenbild aus dem Gran Salone des Palazzo Barberini empfängt die Besucher der Potsdamer Ausstellung in Form einer Deckenprojektion. Das berühmte Fresko spiegelt den Machtanspruch einer der bedeutendsten Familien im Rom des 17. Jahrhunderts wider: Tugenden flankieren die Allegorie der göttlichen Vorsehung und präsentieren die Papst-Tiara und die Schlüssel Petri. Auftraggeber war der literarisch gebildete Maffeo Barberini, der sich bereits als junger Mann von Caravaggio portraitieren ließ. Schon vor seiner Wahl zum Papst hatte er in Rom einen Kreis von Schriftstellern und Wissenschaftlern um sich geschart und begonnen, eine Kunstsammlung aufzubauen. Als er 1623 zum Papst Urban VIII. gewählt wurde, entwickelte er sich zu einem der wichtigsten Kunstförderer und machte Rom zur Hauptstadt des Barock. Unter seinem Pontifikat wurde der Petersdom fertiggestellt und geweiht. Straßen und Plätze entstanden, die das Gesicht der Stadt bis heute prägen. Im Dreißigjährigen Krieg (1618–1848) unterstützte Urban VIII. keine der Streitmächte und hielt an seinem Ziel fest, in seinem Jahrhundert eine kulturelle Blüte in Malerei, Architektur, Literatur und Musik zu initiieren, die den Vergleich mit der Renaissance nicht scheuen sollte. Dennoch blieb sein Pontifikat eine Zeit anhaltender Gewalt durch die in der Gegenreformation begründete Inquisition. So musste der mit Urban VIII. befreundete Galileo Galilei seine Lehren widerrufen.

Caravaggios Gemälde Narziss

Mit seiner Konzentration auf den entscheidenden Moment einer Erzählung stieß Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio eine neue Kunst an. Mit seinen Hell-Dunkel-Effekten brach der Künstler mit bisherigen Normen und wurde zu einem der Begründer der Barockmalerei. Sein Werk spaltete die Geister. Während seine Anhänger ihn für den mutigen Stil feierten, sahen seine Feinde in ihm einen respektlosen Anarchisten, der die althergebrachten Werte der Malerei zerstören wollte. Eines der frühen Werke Caravaggios, sein 1597–1599 entstandenes Gemälde Narziss, kommt als einer der vielen herausragenden Leihgaben aus Rom nach Potsdam. Ortrud Westheider: „Caravaggio zeigt einen jungen Mann beim Anblick seines Spiegelbildes – Narziss, dem seine Selbstliebe zum Verhängnis wurde. Das Gemälde ist berühmt für seine Fokussierung auf den dramatischen Wendepunkt. Seine Modernität, mit der das Abbild, auch die Möglichkeiten der Malerei, reflektiert wurden, fasziniert bis heute.“

Gewalt und Erlösung. Caravaggio und sein Kreis

Caravaggios Realismus traf in der Zeit von Gegenreformation und Religionskriegen einen Nerv. Der Kampf gegen den als Häresie verdammten Protestantismus brachte eine neue Frömmigkeit hervor, wie sie in Orazio Gentileschis Gemälde Der heilige Franziskus, von einem Engel gehalten (um 1612) zu erkennen ist. Bei aller Glaubensmystik zeugen die Bilder wie etwa Giovanni Bagliones Himmlische und irdische Liebe (vor 1603) aber auch von der Gewalttätigkeit dieser Epoche und von einem neuen Selbstbewusstsein der Künstler, mit dem diese auf die Spannungen innerhalb des kunstsinnigen und zugleich streng klerikalen Rom reagierten.

Wie Caravaggio studierten die Künstler in seinem Kreis Modelle, die aus den ärmsten Vierteln Roms kamen. Den monumentalen Altarbildern und Heiligenlegenden verlieh diese Praxis eine neue Eindringlichkeit. Andachtsbilder wurden verlebendigt und in Alltagsszenen umgedeutet. So malte Carlo Saraceni, ein weiterer Weggefährte Caravaggios, mit Madonna mit Kind und die heilige Anna (um 1611) ein unglückliches Jesuskind inmitten einer häuslichen Szene.

Dramen der Halbwelt. Die Caravaggisten in Neapel

Wegen seiner Teilnahme an einem Straßenkampf mit tödlichem Ausgang musste Caravaggio ins Spanische Königreich Neapel fliehen. Mit seiner Malweise inspirierte er die dortigen Künstler. Luca Giordano und Battistello Caracciolo griffen seine nahsichtige Darstellung und Monumentalisierung der Figuren auf und experimentierten mit schlaglichtartiger Beleuchtung. Sie aktualisierten die Geschichten antiker Philosophen und christlicher Heiliger, indem sie wie Caravaggio das historische Geschehen wie auf einer Bühne zeigten. Jusepe de Ribera hat in Venus und der sterbende Adonis (1637) den dramatischen Moment gewählt, in dem Aphrodite ihren sterbenden Gefährten erblickt. Der aus Spanien stammende Maler hatte Caravaggios Werke 1615 in Rom gesehen. Er bewunderte die Dramatik in dessen Arbeit und die Darstellung der oft implizierten Gewalt.

Licht und Schatten. Caravaggismus in Nordeuropa

Künstler aus Flandern und Frankreich brachten ihre Maltraditionen nach Rom und schöpften aus dem hier von Raffael und Michelangelo geprägten, von antiken Vorbildern ausgehenden Stil. Von Caravaggio und seinem Kreis übernahmen Simon Vouet und Matthias Stom die effektvoll beleuchteten Interieurs und nächtlichen Szenen und machten Licht und Schatten – häufig in der Bedeutung von Gut und Böse – zu dem auch in ihren Heimatländern beliebten Spezialgebiet. Auch Michael Sweerts Der Künstler bei der Arbeit (Mitte 17. Jh.) zeigt sich in der Tradition der Helldunkelmalerei und spiegelt zugleich die Kontroverse um den Stil der beiden inzwischen verstorbenen Meister Caravaggio und Guido Reni. Sollte die Kunst, wie Caravaggio behauptete, die Wirklichkeit abbilden? Oder sollte sie sich, wie es Reni vertrat, an antiken Vorbildern orientieren? Der Künstler Sweerts spielt mit den entgegengesetzten Standpunkten und setzte sich so über die Dogmen der Generationen vor ihm hinweg.

Allegorien der Künste. Vorlieben deutscher Sammler

Für die europäische Aristokratie war die Bildungsreise nach Italien obligatorisch. Die Begegnung mit antiken Kunst- und Bauwerken stand im Vordergrund. Im 18. Jahrhundert gewannen die Kunstsammlungen in den Palästen der römischen Familien, wie der Barberini, zunehmend an Bedeutung. Für deutsche Fürsten wurden sie zum Vorbild des eigenen Sammelns. Sie orientierten sich an Kunstwerken, die sich auf die Antike bezogen, und bevorzugten allegorische Darstellungen der Künste, wie sie in Rom von Simon Vouet, Salvator Rosa und Prospero Muti geprägt wurden. Simon Vouets weibliche Figur mit Farbpalette und Pinsel in Allegorie der Malerei (Selbstportrait) (frühe 1620er Jahre) trägt vermutlich die Gesichtszüge Artemisia Gentileschis, der berühmtesten Malerin ihrer Epoche. Sie ist mit zwei Werken aus der Sammlung der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg in der Ausstellung vertreten.

Galerie der Unvernunft. Die italienischen Barockgemälde im Potsdamer Neuen Palais

Als Leihgabe der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg verlassen die zwei Gemälde Bathseba im Bade (um 1635) und Lukretia und Sextus Tarquinius (um 1630) seit 250 Jahren erstmals das Neue Palais in Potsdam und zeigen beispielhaft den Einfluss des römischen Barock auf deutsche Sammlungen. Als der preußische König Friedrich II. die Gemälde für das Neue Palais erwarb, wusste er nicht, dass sie von einer Frau gemalt worden waren. Er ließ 1769 eine italienische Galerie mit Werken von Giordano Bruni, Guido Reni und den heute Gentileschi zugeschriebenen Gemälden einrichten. Mit biblischen und mythologischen Themen nimmt sie die unheilvollen Folgen männlicher Begierde in den Fokus. Der preußische König, der sich mit Schloss Sanssouci, Ruinenberg und Palais Barberini imperialer wie bukolischer Vorbilder bediente, konfrontierte seinen späteren Nachfolger Friedrich Wilhelm II. fortan mit dieser „Galerie der Unvernunft“.

Palazzo Barberini: Das architektonische Vorbild für das Museum Barberini in Potsdam

Das Museum Barberini wurde nach dem Palais Barberini benannt, das Friedrich der Große am Alten Markt in Potsdam bauen ließ. Im Zweiten Weltkrieg zerstört, wurde es in den Jahren 2013 bis 2016 von der Hasso Plattner Stiftung als moderner Museumsbau an originaler Stelle wiedererrichtet. Der preußische König Friedrich der Große hatte sich eine italienische Piazza für Potsdam gewünscht und sich an einem Kupferstich Piranesis orientiert, der den Palazzo Barberini in Rom zeigt. Mit diesem Bezug auf den Kunst-Papst Urban VIII. brachte der Preußen-König seinen Anspruch zum Ausdruck, ebenfalls ein großer Sammler und Kenner der Kunst zu sein. Im Auftrag von Friedrich II. und seines Nachfolgers Friedrich Wilhelm IV. wurden zahlreiche Gebäude nach italienischen Vorbildern in Potsdam errichtet.

Das Museum Barberini als Ausgangspunkt für eine Entdeckungstour durch Italien in Potsdam

Anlässlich der Ausstellung Wege des Barock lädt das Museum Barberini dazu ein, die italienischen Einflüsse im Stadtbild Potsdams zu entdecken. Als Stadtrundgang führt die Audiotour Italien in Potsdam der Barberini App zu insgesamt 30 Gebäuden und Kunstwerken, die im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert nach italienischen Vorbildern entstanden sind. Die Stadttour – gesprochen von Günther Jauch – begleitet durch die Stadt und ermöglicht einen verblüffenden visuellen Vergleich zwischen Potsdam und Italien.

Italien in Potsdam. Jahresthema der Landeshauptstadt 2019

Die Stiftung Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg und die Stadt Potsdam nehmen die Ausstellung zum Anlass, gemeinsam mit dem Museum Barberini den Sommer 2019 zu einer Feier italienischer Kunst und Kultur werden zu lassen. Bei Führungen, Konzerten, Lesungen, Filmabenden, Schlössernacht und vielen weiteren Veranstaltungen zeigt sich Potsdam von seiner italienischen Seite. Mehr Informationen zum Themenjahr Italien in Potsdam: www.potsdamtourismus.de/italien-in-potsdam

Press Reviews

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

Press Reviews
Caravaggio, Narziss, 1597–1599. © Photo: Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica di Roma – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte / Enrico Fontolan

Caravaggio, Narziss, 1597–1599. © Photo: Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica di Roma – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte / Enrico Fontolan

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

Press Reviews on "Baroque Pathways"

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

Italy in Potsdam

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

Italy in Potsdam

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

Summer Festival "Italy in Potsdam"

Angela Hohmann, Berliner Morgenpost: "Wonderful Exhibition"

Ingeborg Ruthe, Berliner Zeitung: "An exuberant feast for the eyes"

B.Z.: "This exhibition is a sensation"

Carsten Probst, Deutschlandfunk: "Spectacular, dramatic, monumental"

Simone Reber, Deutschlandfunk Kultur: "A successful exhibition"

Mathias Richter, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung: "The Caravaggio Revolution at the Barberini Museum"

Heidi Jäger, PNN: "An exhibition that can be seen in its baroque opulence"

Barbara Wiegand, rbb Inforadio: "A tour full of discoveries"

rbb Fernsehen: "More Italian flair is not possible ... will be a crowd-puller"

Peter Richter, Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Absolutely deserves the attribute "splendid", also terms like "wonderful", "wonderful" and "overwhelming" may be used"

Bernhard Schulz, Tagesspiegel: "Is that still Potsdam, or is it Rome already? ... In Potsdam, the Baroque already made a splendid stop - and is doing it again now".

Andrea Hilgenstock, tip: "Spectacular"

© Museum Barberini, by courtesy of www.cngcoins.com, editing: Björn Böhme
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© Museum Barberini
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Klausberg, Park Sanssouci // Antique Model
Palazzo Barberini, Rom Photo © Barberini Corsini
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Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Photo © Helge Mundt
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Museum Barberini Potsdam // Palazzo Barberini Rome
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Colonnades, New Palace, Potsdam // Colonnades, St. Peter's Square, Rome
© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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Triumphal Arch at Winzerberg, Potsdam // Arco degli Argentari, Rome
© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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Neptune Grotto, Potsdam // Trevi Fountain, Rome
© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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© Museum Barberini Potsdam, Henry Balaszeskul
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French Church, Potsdam // Pantheon, Rome
© SPSG
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© SPSG / Gerhard Murza
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Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi unrestored // restored
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