|The gigantic equestrian statue of Great Elector Friedrich in the splendid entrance hall of the Bode Museum|
The main body of the Bode Museum collection is its large number of statues and sculptures, but you might want to start with its Byzantine collection on the left-hand side of the ground floor. After all, they seem to have transported the whole of a richly mosaicked apse from the basilica of San Michele in Africisco in Ravenna and painstakingly reconstructed it here, so it would be a shame to miss it.
There are lots of other fascinating examples of Byzantine art here, particularly Arabic-influenced stone-carving.
There is also wonderfully carved ivory too. In fact, there are so many examples of the ivory-carvers craft in the Bode that it is a shame that to have ivory you also need a dead elephant.
|Tsk. Someone has hung an ivory horn on a crucified man. No respect.|
Once you have cleansed your palate with the Byzantines, it is time to prepare yourself for the main course, which is a sumptuous feast of statues and sculptures spanning Europe and the centuries up until the 19th. A word of warning though; if you are at all anti-religious then you might get indigestion from a surfeit of people nailed to crosses and voluptuous Madonnas nursing chubby babies.
Here are just a few so that you get an idea of the range of styles and materials (though mostly wood):
|Popes also get a look-in, in this case Pope Alexander IV|
|One thing that began to puzzle me: why are there so many blonde-haired, fair-skinned Mary Mother of Gods here? Then I looked at the characteristics of the German women around me visiting the museum. Ah, that's why!|
|Mathew, Mark, Luke and Ringo|
There are quite a few beheadings in this collection, my favorite being this deliciously gruesome rendition of Salome and John the Baptist (just look at the expression on her face, and what the dog on the left is doing). I like that the curator has placed a statue of John the Baptist's head on a platter in close proximity.
If you tire of the Christian statuary though, there are plenty of Classically-themed subjects:
Also pagan themes, like this marvelous Goddess Diana (and I love the Green Man face at the bottom):
|Statue of the Goddess Diana as a huntress, made out of marble by Bernardino Cametti in Rome around 1720|
Pedestal by Pascal Latour around 1754
Some of the sculptures are genuinely moving, such as this screaming woman.
Whilst others are surprising, like this anatomical 'muscle man':
The Bode Museum is educational too, explaining for instance the methods by which a bronze statue is made from a wax original.
There is a large coin collection on the second floor, but only numismatic fanatics are likely to get too excited there. A better section to visit is hidden in the basement, an exhibition of religious treasures. It was only on my third visit that I found this exhibition: it seems to deliberately be concealed downstairs behind closed doors. Make sure you don't miss it!
|Hands up if you managed to find the 'Treasures of Faith' exhibition!|
|One last look at some of the religious art-work |