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Museum Nerd At The Gemäldegalerie

My husband is always teasing me about what a major museum nerd I am. No matter where we are, even if the nearest museum only showcases rusty farm equipment labeled with fly-specked signs, I still want to go. What’s more, I will also be excited the whole time I’m there, reading the faded lettering, learning all about the fascinating differences between ridge and moldboard plows.

Of course, Berlin has some of the best museums in the world, which means a treasure trove for museum nerd moi.

Luckily I’ve also done a good job brain washing my children into liking museums, not only child-friendly places like the Museum für Kommunikation, the Naturkunde Museum and the Technik Museum—before my daughters started school, we went to at least one of these museums every week—but also art musuems like my absolute favorite, the Gemäldegalerie. Today, we rode our bikes there together, cruising past Legoland on Potsdamer Platz, where we’ve never been. (I just asked my older daughter, „What sounds cooler, a museum or Legoland?“ and she said, „Hmmm. I think…Legoland.“ Not too much passion there, so all is well. I really can’t stand all that overpriced kid-trap stuff. Such a racket. They’d have to beg pretty hard to get me to take them there, and luckily they never have.)

What I love about the Gemäldegalerie, and museums in general, is to walk through the rooms just looking, really looking at everything they have there. We’re all inundated with images every day, but how often do we ever truly look at anything anymore? I also love the people watching, observing strangers wandering and watching in near total silence, uttering the occasional reverent whisper; it’s almost a religious experience.

This painting reminded me of my obsession with the lives of the saints in high school (yes, I was an odd teen). Poor old Saint Sebastian. Those arrows had to have hurt, even if they (miraculously) didn’t kill him.

When they were younger, I used to read my daughters stories from D’Aulaires‘ Book of Greek Myths. They wept whenever I read them Orpheus‘ tale, but Perseus, with Andromeda and the sea monster was also a favorite. What jerks for parents poor Andromeda had!

Here are a few other highlights that caught my eye today.

And, of course, Botticelli’s famous gem.

I loved the rack of Reclam books in the gift shop. Such a fabulous, simple design for a book. For a while, you could even buy little Reclam books from vending machines in U-Bahn stations, although I haven’t seen that in a while. Unfortunately, the print in the books is often very small, not the best for middle-aged eyes.

A beautiful way to spend a somewhat rainy May afternoon in the city where I live and which I love.


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