The Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) possesses one of the largest collections of its kind. It is recognized as one of the world's finest collections of graphic art with 110,000 drawings and about 550,000 prints.
The Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) possesses one of the largest collections of its kind. It is recognized as one of the world's finest collections of graphic art with 110,000 drawings and about 550,000 prints, including works by great artists ranging from Botticelli and Dürer to Picasso and Beuys. Special focuses of the collection are shown in contemporary exhibitions.
The museum's collection embraces European and American drawings and prints from the Middle Ages to the present. It also collects illuminated manuscripts, that is, richly decorated, handwritten texts, from the early Middle Ages and the Renaissance as well as printed illustrated books.
The history of the Museum of Prints and Drawings goes back to 1652, when Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg acquired about 2,500 drawings and watercolours for the court library. The museum itself was founded in 1831, and today holds more than 100,000 drawings, watercolours, gouaches and pastels by European and American artists from the 14th to the 20th century, about 540,000 prints from the late Middle Ages to the present, more than 4,750 medieval and Renaissance miniatures, almost 250 incunabula, approximately 2,500 books illustrated with original prints dating from the 16th century to the present, and about 4,500 printing plates from the 15th to the 20th century.
The collection consists of the following sections: illustrated books and manuscripts, drawings and prints from the 14th to the 18th century of German, Dutch, Italian, French, English and Spanish schools as well as 19th and 20th century drawings and prints.
The drawings by early Italian, old German, old Netherlandish and 19th century masters are of exceptionally high quality. The large selection of works by Botticelli, Dürer, Altdorfer, Grünewald, Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt, Schinkel or Menzel is guaranteed to delight all art lovers.
Classic modern art represents an area of particular emphasis within the far-reaching collection. Works by numerous individual artists, such as Picasso, Beckmann and Giacometti, cover the whole spectrum of their creative lives.
Some sections of the collection are presented to the public in special exhibitions, but works are usually shown for short periods as graphic art is highly sensitive to light. Despite such restrictions visitors are welcome to order works of their particular choice and examine them at leisure in the study room.
The collection at the Kupferstichkabinett is complemented by many works in the neighbouring Art Library. The library also collects and exhibits prints and drawings primarily related to European applied art.