Art in Germany

The museums in Berlin and Munich contain ancient and modern masterpieces, and on the streets one is absorbed in the history of modern Germany.

videos + essays

The Severan Tondo: damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome
The Severan Tondo: damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome

A family drama in which Caracalla assassinates his brother and damns his memory.

Simultanism: Robert Delaunay
Simultanism: Robert Delaunay

The longer you look at the painting the more possible readings of the forms you are likely to discover. Delaunay’s painting is not only about vision, it is also about painting itself and the way colored shapes and relationships structure vision.

The Berlin Wall as a political symbol
The Berlin Wall as a political symbol

This Cold War icon was much more than just a barrier between East and West.

Negotiating the past in Berlin: the <em>Palast der Republik</em>
Negotiating the past in Berlin: the Palast der Republik

This building was a symbol of a repressive regime, but the German government's vote to tear it down sparked years of protests.

Peter Behrens, Turbine Factory
Peter Behrens, Turbine Factory

A leader in modern technology hired a “self-taught architect” with no engineering skills to design their factory.

Exekias, <em>Dionysos Kylix</em>
Exekias, Dionysos Kylix

This cup depicts the god of wine Dionysos escaping pirates by hiding and turning them into dolphins.

<em>Portrait Head of Queen Tiye</em>
Portrait Head of Queen Tiye

Tiye was a powerful figure, but her royal life was complicated, as demonstrated through this changing statue.

Titian, <em>Christ Crowned with Thorns</em>
Titian, Christ Crowned with Thorns

Opting for shadow over light, Titian frees himself—and future generations—from the Renaissance demand for clarity.

Albrecht Dürer, <em>Self-Portrait</em> (1500)
Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait (1500)

Dürer holds nothing back in this frontal portrait. By taking Christ’s pose, he conflates artist and creator.

Franz von Stuck, <em>The Sin</em>
Franz von Stuck, The Sin

Entranced by the evil of the human psyche, we come face to face with art history’s creepiest snake.

Peter Paul Rubens, <em>The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus</em>
Peter Paul Rubens, The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

The myth is ancient, but these figures couldn’t be closer. Rubens’s virtuoso brushwork and color are on display.

Albrecht Dürer, <em>The Four Apostles</em>
Albrecht Dürer, The Four Apostles

These monumental figures concentrate their attention on the word of God, which Dürer writes into the painting.