Bodemuseum

Lonely Planet review

Mighty and majestic, the Bodemuseum has pushed against the northern wedge of Museumsinsel like a proud ship’s bow since 1904. The gloriously restored neo-baroque beauty presents several collections in largely naturally lit galleries with marble floors and wood-panelled ceilings.

Prime billing goes to the sculpture collection , hailed as ‘the most comprehensive display of European sculpture anywhere’ by none other than British Museum director Neil MacGregor. There are works here from the early Middle Ages to the late 18th century, including serious masterpieces like Donatello’s early Renaissance Pazzi Madonna, Giovanni Pisano’s Man of Sorrows relief and the portrait busts of Desiderio da Settignano. From the Italians cruise on over to the Germans, perhaps to compare the emotiveness of Tilman Riemenschneider’s carvings to those by his contemporaries Hans Multscher or Nicolaus Gerhaert van Leyden.

Before breaking for coffee at the museum’s elegant cafe, pop down to the Museum of Byzantine Art , which takes up just a few rooms off the grand domed foyer. Roman sarcophagi, ivory carvings and mosaic icons are among the items revealing the level of artistry in the early days of Christianity. Coin collectors should also get a kick out of the Numismatic Collection on the 2nd floor, where the oldest farthing is from the 7th century BC. Kids, meanwhile, can learn how to make mosaics in the interactive Kindergalerie (Children’s Gallery) in the basement.