Museum Barberini is an art museum located in the old market square in Potsdam. Officially opened to the public in January 2017, the museum was built on the site of the Barberini Palace which was largely damaged in 1945 and then demolished in 1959. The new building, which was awarded ‘Building of the Year 2016’ by the charitable German organisation ‘Stadtbild Deutschland’, has been described as Germany’s most exciting new art gallery.
The museum was founded by Hans Plattner, co-founder of the software enterprise SAP SE and a philanthropist who devotes his time to the promotion of science, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as to social and cultural projects. In order to achieve these goals, he founded Hasso Plattner Stiftung, a Foundation which supports a range of social issues, as well as academic and cultural projects, including the establishment of the Museum Barberini in Potsdam. Plattner, who is quoted as saying, ‘Encounter the original share the passion’, lived during his childhood on the border between East and West Germany, which sparked an interest in 20thcentury German art, particularly works by East German artists, including those of Gerhard Richter, Bernard Heisig, Werner Tubke and Martin Kipperberger
The Museum Barberini exhibits this collection of artworks from the former German Democratic Republic, as well as holding special exhibitions that range from Old Masters to contemporary art, with a particular focus on the Impressionists. A passionate collector with an excellent grasp of painting, Plattner has assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of French impressionist landscape paintings, including works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley.
The Museum Barberini in Potsdam is a facsimile of a replica of the original in Rome. Its construction, largely funded by Plattner’s Foundation, has re-created much of the baroque detailing and decoration of the original, though elements have been adapted to allow for its use as a 21st century art gallery, including a basement with a ceiling that is some three and a half metres in height in order to ensure that large scale works can be accommodated.
The Museum holds three temporary exhibitions each year with major loan collections from international and private collections. It has a conceptual approach, combining dynamic exhibitions with international partnerships, modern education methods and digital access.