Part 2 // City Guides
Old and new culture If Berlin is Brooklyn, then Munich is certainly Manhattan. We’ve all seen lederhosen-clad tourists spilling beers at Oktoberfest, but how else does southern Germany do culture? With a mix of the old and the new. Text: Nadja Sayej | Photos: Christian Beirle
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eated on the cusp of the Bavarian Alps, the high mountaintops bring aspirations with altitude: Munich is culturally rich in comparison to other German cities. With a touch of elegance that builds on the baroque, there are concrete-clad museums, international talents and deep-rooted traditions in Munich. Alongside writers, thinkers and philosophers, Munich is historically known for drawing top talents who made their mark. In 1897, the mystical poet Rainer Maria Rilke fell in love with a muse in Munich, while Thomas Mann wrote that the city “shone” in Gladius Dei. During the Weimar period, artists like Bertolt Brecht and Oskar Maria Graf sauntered in, just as Bavaria Film Studios was founded in 1919. Who can forget the buzz around the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)? An unforgettable art collective made of Munich artists, including Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Like many fairy tales, it began hundreds of years ago. Once upon a time, in the days of Ludwig II of Bavaria, the National Theatre Munich was the go-to hub for hosting operas by Richard Wagner. Today, the neo-classical beauty in the picturesque Max-Joseph-Platz is home to the Bavarian State Opera and Orchestra. Rich with history, elegant lighting and a divine interior, this iconic landmark kicks off the season on September 20 with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, featuring German sopranist Anja Harteros. The Nymphenburg Palace, one of the biggest baroque palaces in Europe, holds the key to some fascinating art and artefacts. The lavish palace houses a ceiling mural of St. Mary-Magdalene by Antonio Viscardi in the angelic chapel. The south wing has the Carriage Museum, which includes a golddrenched state coach for King Ludwig II from 1870-71. A hub for handcrafted porcelain, the palace is crowned with sculptures of Greek gods like Pluto, Jupiter and Pro serpina. Since it was a summer residence to Bavarian rulers, history is around every corner. The precious Queens bedroom shows where King Ludwig II was born in 1845.
The Kunstareal museum quartier is home to a family of museums and galleries. The Alte Pinakothek houses a stunning collection of 14th to 18th century art. See works by Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens. They pride themselves as the only German museum with a work by Leonardo da Vinci. Art nerds will freak out when they see the droopy petals in Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh at the Neue Pinakothek, a museum designed by Alexander Freiherr von Branca. A museum known for its impressionist paintings, there is a romantic landscape in The Bridge at Argenteuil by Claude Monet. Opening September 8, catch B for Battle Paintings, an exhibition of 40 works by German painter Wilhelm von Kobell, who painted passionate, war-torn landscapes. Old Masters are on display as part of the Flowing Transition exhibition, which brings together French Rococo paintings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze and François Boucher. Nearby, if you spot a vast concrete structure, it’s probably the Pinakothek der Moderne. Designed by German architect
FLYDOSCOPE // 2014 — \4
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