Lovers of art history and architecture will enjoy their time in Germany tremendously. The architectural heritage of Germany is of immense value to archeologists, historians, and art lovers alike.
Sites, monuments and artworks protected by Germany’s heritage societies go back to Roman Antiquity. The city of Trier, for instance, includes impressive baths and the artful throne room of Emperor Constantine (ca. 280-337 AD). Germany has it all: the mostly sacral German art and architecture of the Middle Ages (e.g. the cathedrals of Worms and Freiburg), the flourishing Renaissance arts and Baroque splendor (e.g. the residences of Landshut and Würzburg), and the elegant classicist and playful art nouveau buildings. It is no surprise that domestic tourism in Germany is still going strong.
Contemporary German architecture could be considered a form of art itself. The functional buildings of German modernism (e.g. the Bauhaus design school) can be found all over German cities. Buildings that host German art or historical exhibits are usually constructed in the post-modern style. Great examples are, for instance, the neo-expressionist Jewish Museum in Berlin or the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt (Main).
Some architectural sites, such as churches, historic castles, and even universities in Germany, often have museums as well. These museums contain collections of German art such as paintings, wood carvings, tapestries, interior design, etc. If you would like to visit some of Germany’s architectural sites famous among German art historians, we have some tips for you:
Almost every city and every town in Germany has a museum of some sort, be it the big art museum showing of works by Van Gogh or Monet, or the local history museum. Germany is proud of its exhibitions and displays of German art and culture. The museums have long begun to cater to tourists and visitors as well and are offering audio guides, tours, and information material in various languages.
German art museums come in all sizes and cater to every conceivable (and inconceivable) interest. Some focus on artworks, others on natural history and technology, on general history and biography, or on local traditions and special interests. And if you are fascinated by the weird, the odd, and the bizarre, there are also museums dedicated to children’s toys, to Currywurst (sausage with curry-spiced ketchup sauce – a typical German fast-food snack), to torture methods, to chamberpots, and pig-shaped lucky charms. Have fun!
Germany’s heritage in the visual arts is almost as rich and varied as its architectural monuments. German artists of international renown include the Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer, the Romanticist Casper David Friedrich, the members of the Expressionist art groups Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter as well as the 20th century conceptual artist Joseph Beuys. Their artwork is hosted in some of Germany’s biggest and most popular museums:
The contemporary avant-garde in German art has been stuck with various labels such as “Young German Artists”, “New Leipzig School”, “Dresden Pop” or “neurotic realism”. They are active in the countless small galleries or exhibition rooms in major cities like Cologne or Berlin. If you are interested in engaging with the works of modern artists, the annual documenta art fair in Kassel is the place for you.
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