National Treasures of Germany


From Luther to the Bauhaus

An exhibition of the Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen (KNK; Conference of National Cultural Institutions) in cooperation with the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany)
30 September 2005 to 8 January 2006

Fifteen years after German reunification, more than twenty nationally ranking institutions of the new federal states and Berlin will place their most precious cultural treasures on view at the federal art and exhibition hall. In a unique display of previously unequalled scale, some four hundred impressive collection objects and highlights will be presented on 2,000 square metres of exhibition space.

"I am quite curious as to what treasures I will find in your abode," Goethe observed in 1805. Two hundred years later, you will have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps: Come with us on a journey through five hundred years of cultural history in the realms of art, nature and science, and explore en passant the sumptuous treasure chambers in the heart of Europe.

The chief aim of the exhibition is to illuminate the history of collecting activities. It will provide insight into the emergence and evolution of various types of museums and collections in the overall European context, while at the same time placing emphasis on the special character of the Eastern German museums: For the history of collecting - but in other important areas as well - countless decisive impulses arose from Germany's East. Outstanding testimonies to German culture as a whole are still to be found in these regions. An important role is played by Martin Luther's Reformation and the Protestant outlook, which still exerts a major influence on intellectual and cultural movements today. Works and institutions of unparalleled importance for Central Europe developed in the process, though they have yet to be sufficiently acknowledged as such. The Reformation at the dawn of sixteenth century will form the point of departure for a journey that will end with a media-supported portrait sketch of the participating institutions in their early-twenty-first-century guise. The historical and art-historical developments taking place over a period of nearly half a century will be re-experienced in the suspenseful encounter with the objects themselves. Like ambassadors sent to us from the past, artworks such as paintings, sculptures and drawings as well as works of literature and music, precious objects and curios, natural history objects and models will represent the emergence of a national heritage of European origin.
The exhibition is being presented by the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibition will be developed and realized in collaboration with x:hibit.