It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Arts and Archives: Final days




On Saturday morning we visited the Berlin Museum of Medicinal History at the Charite. At the end of the 19th century, Rudolf Virchow created one of the largest collections of pathological-anatomical specimens. He wanted to provide specimens of healthy and diseased organs to improve the education among physicians, students and even the public for every known illness, and to also show what was under the human skin.  The museum opened in 1899 and included about 35000 specimens. A great number of collections were lost during WW II, only some 1800 specimens survived without greater damage. In 1998 the Museum at Charite was reopened to the public. The former Rudolf Virchow Lecture Hall was also destroyed at the very end of the war, the ruins were preserved and now form a unique atmosphere for scientific gatherings and other events. 
In this unique museum we could view not only 300 years of medicinal history starting from the time when the Charite was established as a plague hospital (around 1700), but also patient treatment history. With the help of our excellent guide (a medicine historian) we were able to view the 750 piece specimen collection and documentation of the founder's views of health, illness and the course of diseases. This was very interesting and educational - no photos could be taken.

On Saturday evening we had an exceptional opportunity to enjoy a sold-out concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with the guest conductor Mariss Jansons (chief conductor of Royal Concertgebow in Amsterdam).  It was an unforgettable experience be among the 2440 others and listen to Sibelius, von Weber and Mahler with one of the world's greatest orchestras (ranked as #2 after the Royal Concertgebow in Amsterdam). The concert building by Hans Scharoun was inaugurated in 1963 and still is one of the most impressive and significant spatial creations of the 20th century in the whole world. 

  
Entombment of Mary by Giotto di Bondone, 1310. This painting is Giotto's finest demonstration of his skills and deep philosophical understanding of religious events. Giotto was also one of the first  artists to implement perspective.

On Sunday, many of us returned to the Kupferstichkabinett and revisited the Maria Sibylla Merian-exhibit and also the Gemäldegallerie with its extensive Paintings from the 13th to 18th century.
Before it was time to say good bye to Berlin we made sure to visit the Jewish Museum with the Daniel Libeskind building.

“Voided Void,” or Holocaust Tower is a part of the Libeskind building at the Jewish museum in Berlin.  Daylight penetrates the tower only through a narrow slit in the unheated concrete silo and any exterior sounds are heavily muffled by the walls. 

This was the end of our 2017 Arts and Archives Tour, another inspirational and successful trip. We were fascinated with the science history in both Copenhagen and Berlin, and also the current architecture, infrastructural efficiency, friendliness, the very moving WW II legacy, and so on.
Next year we'll return to Europe, to the south of Spain (Grenada and Seville) and Amsterdam.  

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