In 2022, Donatello, Hockney, Dante, and Dürer feature in special temporary exhibitions in the Berlin Kulturforum (Gemäldegalerie and several further museums).
The museums of the Kulturforum in Berlin will arrange several temporary exhibitions in 2022 to enhance the wonderful permanent displays. The Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) will celebrate the life and work of local artist Anna Dorothea Therbusch (1721–1782) and stage the first-ever exhibition in Germany on the Florentine sculptor Donatello (ca. 1386–1466). A major exhibition will feature four monumental landscapes by David Hockney and a rediscovered Rembrandt. Graphic art by Albrecht Dürer, illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and designs by Jeanne Lanvin will also be displayed. The Kunstbibliothek will consider the allure of the incomplete (and broken) artworks, as well as host the international traveling Studio Tolerance works. Time-slot reservations are essential for some museums (and sometimes separately for special exhibitions too. Buy museum tickets online in advance from Tiqets, Get Your Guide, or SMB.
All Berlin state museums are open in 2023. Time-slot reservations are essential only for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum (closed from October 2023 to 2027!), and Das Panorama. Timeslots are currently released only around four weeks in advance. Buy tickets and make reservations online at GetYourGuide or at SMB. Online tickets for museums without timeslot reservations are skip-the-line — go directly to the entrance to scan the ticket. Many multiple-museum tickets and passes are again accepted. The 3-day Berlin Museum Pass is excellent value.
See Update for Opening Hours of the Berlin State Museums (2023) for the latest information.
Special Exhibitions in the Kulturforum Museums in Berlin in 2022
The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (State Museums of Berlin) have wonderful permanent displays in the various museums but temporary exhibitions bring more works out of storage and are often complemented by loans for world-class exhibitions. Most of the Berlin museums will have special exhibitions in 2022 — most are seen on the same ticket as the permanent collection and without a surcharge.
This article included exhibitions in the Kulturforum area of Berlin, including the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery), Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Arts), Kupferstichkabinett (Graphic Works), and the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library). See a separate list of temporary exhibitions in the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) that is part of the Kulturforum area and an overview of all the special exhibitions of the Berlin State Museums in 2022.
Temporary Exhibitions in the Gemäldegalerie Berlin in 2022
The Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) in Berlin exhibits one of the best Old Masters painting collections in the world. Superlatives are essential to describe the permanent display so any temporary exhibition had to match the very high standard.
Three very special exhibitions will draw visitors to the Gemäldegalerie in 2022:
Anna Dorothea Therbusch — A Berlin Woman Artist of the Age of Enlightenment
3 December 2021 — 10 April 2022 in the Gemäldegalerie
The Anna Dorothea Therbusch — A Berlin Woman Artist of the Age of Enlightenment exhibition marks the 300th anniversary of one of the most important female painters of the 18th century. Anna Dorothea Therbusch (1721–1782), the daughter of the Prussian court painter Georg Lisiewsky, received her initial instruction as a painter from her father. In 1767 she was one of the few women to be accepted into Europe’s most important art school of the time, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in Paris.
The exhibition will unite almost all of her works in Berlin around the famous self-portrait that always draws much attention in the permanent collection of the Gemäldegalerie. It will be complemented by works from contemporaries to provide an overview of the oeuvre and milieu of her time and life. Her works are generally also on display in the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Bode-Museum, Kunstgewerbemuseum, and the Jewish Museum Berlin.
Anna Dorothea Therbusch — Eine Berliner Künstlerin der Aufklärungszeit — A special exhibition of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in the Gemäldegalerie.
David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue — The “Four Seasons” of the Würth Collection in Berlin
9 April to 10 July 2022
This exhibition places Hockney’s monumental landscape cycle Three Trees near Thixendale (2007-2008) from the Würth Collection in relation to a selection of landscape paintings from the collections of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. Works from the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Gemäldegalerie, and the Kupferstichkabinett thus provide an insight into the diversity and richness of the genre of landscape painting, which was reprised in David Hockney’s large-scale paintings.
The most exciting of these landscape paintings is Landscape with Arched Bridge (“Landschaft mit Bogenbrücke”), a painting of the SMB which after three decades was again reattributed to Rembrandt van Rijn. It is only the eighth landscape painting considered to be the work of Rembrandt.
David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue — The “Four Seasons” of the Würth Collection in Berlin (David Hockney – Landschaften im Dialog — Die „Vier Jahreszeiten“ der Sammlung Würth zu Gast in Berlin) is a special exhibition in the Wandelhalle of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
Donatello. Founder of the Renaissance
2 September 2022 – 8 January 2023
The Florentine sculptor Donatello (ca. 1386–1466) is one of the great pioneers of the Italian Renaissance. Even his contemporaries recognized his outstanding importance, and clients from all over Italy were keen to acquire his works.
Donatello was a versatile innovator who was always open to technical and artistic developments and experimented tirelessly with materials and forms of aesthetic expression. This included his consistent application of linear perspective, his rediscovery of terracotta, his pioneering use of bas-relief – as in his famous Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata – or the rendering of the most diverse human emotions.
For the first time in almost 40 years – and for the first time ever in Germany – an exhibition will be held on this extraordinary artist. The exhibition will focus not only on the complexity of his oeuvre, but also on his influence on the development of Renaissance art as a whole, especially when it comes to painting — the special exhibition is in the paintings gallery after all.
Donatello. Erfinder der Renaissance — A special exhibition of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in the Gemäldegalerie in collaboration with the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musei del Bargello, Florence, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Special Exhibitions in the Kulturforum Berlin in 2022
Several further special exhibitions will be held in the Kulturforum exhibition hall and smaller museums of the Berlin Culture Forum area. Dürer and Dante are the big names but several further displays may be of considerable interest:
Dürer for the Nation
23 September 2022 – 8 January 2023 in the Kulturforum, Exhibition hall
The founding of the German Empire in 1871 coincided with the 400th anniversary of the birth of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). His ever-present role as the leading light of German art made him a national figure of identification, exceptionally well suited to consolidating a sense of unity in the newly founded, broad federation of the empire with its capital Berlin. Dürer’s works provided a means for establishing connections between the new capital and the Old Master.
In sometimes spectacular acquisitions, numerous drawings and prints from all over Europe found their way to the Kupferstichkabinett. This exhibition traces the eventful development of what is today one of the world’s most important Dürer collections and presents around 130 graphic works and drawings by the artist. It covers the period from 1831 to 1994, when the Kupferstichkabinett works –- divided during the war –- were brought together again at the Kulturforum in Berlin.
Dürer für die Nation — A special exhibition of the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Hell’s Black and Starlight — Dante’s Divine Comedy in Modern and Contemporary Art
12 February – 8 May 2022 in the Kupferstichkabinett
To mark the 700th anniversary of the death of Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) in September 2021, the Kupferstichkabinett will be showing a selection of two lesser-known, large series of prints from the 1920s by Danish artist Ebba Holm and German Klaus Wrage. Both deal in multi-faceted ways with Dante’s magnum opus The Divine Comedy – and follow Dante’s imaginary journey through hell, up the mountain of purgatory, and on to paradise.
In addition, 24 computer-generated drawings by Andreas Siekmann will be displayed alongside other illustrations of Dante’s work -– including those of Sandro Botticelli, Gustave Doré, Odilon Redon, and Wilhelm Lehmbruck.
Höllenschwarz und Sternenlicht. Dantes Göttliche Komödie — in Moderne und Gegenwart
A special exhibition of the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
December 2022 – March 2023 in the Kunstgewerbemuseum
As one of the first women in the history of fashion, the Parisian Jeanne Lanvin (1867–1946) began her career in 1889 as a milliner. Alongside her hats, she designed short, free-flowing smock dresses for her daughter Marguerite, before launching a line of women’s clothing in 1909.
Her designs were at odds with the Modernist collections of younger contemporaries like Coco Chanel, but were no less successful. By the 1920s, her business had grown into a fashion empire, which continued to be expanded after her death by her successors.
This exhibition sheds light on the development of the fashion produced by the Lanvin label right up to the present day.
Jeanne Lanvin — A special exhibition of the Kunstgewerbemuseum – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in collaboration with a Berlin fashion school.
Exhibitions in the Kunstbibliothek Berlin in 2022
The Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) in the Cultural Forum area of Berlin has frequent smaller exhibitions that are very rewarding for visitors focusing on the oft specialized subjects and less spectacular big pieces. In addition to the library’s special photo exhibitions in the Museum für Fotografie, two of the temporary exhibitions in the Kunstbibliothek in 2022 are:
Fragment. The Allure of the Incomplete
29 September 2022 – 8 January 2023 in the Kunstbibliothek
What do a fragment of a sculpture, an oil painting, and a drawer full of broken pottery have in common? In different ways, they are all incomplete. The fact that this is not always evident at first glance is revealed by this exhibition, which is curated by the trainees of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
In this presentation, which transcends collections, genres, and epochs, the objects take center stage. Their histories are diverse and deserve to be told — and sometimes they are just as incomplete as the objects themselves. These objects contain within them stories of destruction and decay, but also of scholarship and discovery.
The museum as an institution will also be interrogated through a series of critical interventions into questions such as: Which objects are included in a collection? From what contexts were they taken? What is ultimately presented to the public? The allure of the incomplete also comes from its uncertainty. Where there is a lack of certainty, there is space for imagination and creativity, for dialogue and debate.
Even if not visiting this exhibition, take its title to heart. In a museum full of complete works, any fragments on display certainly have a special story to tell, or it would not be there.
Fragment.DerReizdesUnvollständigen — A special exhibition of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
17 May – 17 July 2022 in the Kunstbibliothek
A total of 184 graphic artists from 56 countries have already taken part in the Tolerance Project – a poster campaign launched by Mirko Ilić in New York in 2017. The only requirement? The word “tolerance” must appear on the poster.
The Kulturforum will exhibit around 50 of these “tolerance posters,” which include designs by Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Edel Rodriguez, Dan Reisinger, Annette Lenz, and many more. They show not only an immense variety of approaches to design, but also the range of what constitutes social acceptance internationally, be that in terms of political views, or national, religious, or sexual identity.
Studio Tolerance — A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in collaboration with the Tolerance Project, New York.
More on the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin):
Note: Most Berlin museums and similar sights are open in 2023. Timeslot reservations are essential for only the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum (closed from Oct 2023 until 2027!), and Das Panorama. Timeslots are released only around four weeks in advance. Tickets are available from GetYourGuide that seem to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out — many passes or multi-museum tickets are again available. Individual museum ticket prices range from €6 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code.
For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:
- Top National Museums and Galleries in Berlin (brief overview)
- Berlin State Museums: What Is Seen Where? (a short description of the collections in the different museums)
- Opening Hours of Berlin State Museums (2023).
- Ticket Prices for Berlin State Museums (prices for museums, temporary exhibitions, combination tickets, online time-slot reservations). Buying online from GetYourGuide is a lot simpler and costs the same as the official museum website. Timeslot reservations are essential for the most popular museums!
- Save with the Berlin Museum Pass – 30 museums (including all the SMB museums) in three days for €32 – a fantastic savings deal.
- Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (official website in German & English).
News & Temporary Exhibitions:
- 2024: Overview of Top Berlin Exhibitions in 2024, Caspar David Friedrich in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Frans Hals in the Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie (20th-century art) Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary Art, Kupferstichkabinett (Prints and Drawings), and Photography Museum.
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2023 — overview, in the Kulturforum, in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museum Island, and the Museum of Photography.
- The Pergamon Museum will be closed completely from 23 October 2023. It will partly reopen only in spring 2027 (with the rest to follow by the mid to late 2030s).
More Museum Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:
- Alte Nationalgalerie with Caspar David Friedrich paintings (2024 special exhibition).
- Altes Museum with Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art.
- Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldtforum.
- Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (free admission) with a collection of 19th-century German sculptures.
- Gemäldegalerie with its collection of German and Dutch Old Masters and Italian paintings.
- Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Arts).
- Musical Instruments Museum near the Berliner Philharmonie.
- Neue Nationalgalerie with early 20th-century art and Alexander Calder exhibitions.
- Neues Museum with bust of Nefertiti.
- Pergamon Museum with Ishtar Gate — the whole Pergamonmuseum is closed from October 2023 until 2027.
- Pergamon Museum Panorama Exhibition with Asisi panoramic painting and Greek statues.
- Photography — Helmut Newton collection and historic photos.
Previous Temporary Exhibitions:
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2022 — overview, in the Kulturforum (David Hockney), in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museumsinsel, Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art, and the Museum of Photography.
- Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2021 — including the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie, as well as the Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldt Forum.
- Top Special Exhibitions in 2020: Highlights, in Kulturforum, on Museum Island, in the Hamburger Bahnhof, smaller museums, and the opening of the Humboldt Forum in December.