Travelguide for artlovers

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Germany, Leipzig

Leipzig – visit to Museum for Visual Arts

MdBK leipzig

The Leipzig Museum der Bildenden Künste (known as MdBK) is hidden between  large buildings in the heart of the city. It is absolutely not a small museum, but you hardly notice it due to its architecture. The museum is housed in a large square building covered with opaque glass panels. Based on the exterior you would not guess that the building  houses  a very rich art collection from 16th century till present day.

Leipzig fine arts museum

This unnoted  building houses  the MdBK or museum for visual arts in Leipzig

Merchants, publishers, traders and bankers founded this museum in 1848. They were all members of the Leipzig Art Association. An association that still exists and still donates works of art to the museum, including many artworks of regional artists.

Mix of modern and ancient art

At the beginning of 2018 I visited the museum for the first time. I started on the third floor, as recommended by the receptionist. Stepping out of the elevator I immediately encountered a diversity of art works. In the middle of the floor was a large exhibition called Virtual Normality. In which female artists explore the possibilities and limitations of social media. Women who seductively move in front of the camera, life-size photos of women taking a selfie in their underwear and a video of a woman with a mask and in a sexy blue dress walking down the streets of a city in South Carolina. These confrontational images hung right next to artworks from the 16th and 19th century.

MdgK Leipzig virtual reality

New themes and art forms are not avoided at the MdBK

One minute you walk through the beautiful collection of Bühler-Brockhaus with mostly 19 century sculptures and paintings, the next minute you stare at porn food photos.  With this, the museum has stolen my heart. I love the unconventional display, and the mixing of art.

modern and old art mixed Leipzig

Food porn photo’s next to the Bühler Brockhaus collection

On the second floor I found two beautiful examples where modern art is mixed with art from the past. One of them, was a photograph by Wang Quingsong. With his photo he responded to the old painting ‘Sieben lebensalter das Weibes’ by Hand Baldung Grien from 1544. It brought a smile to my face.

Museum fine arts Leipzig

The second example is part of the permanent exhibition. On the first floor you will encounter a portrait by Andy Warhol hanging in between two paintings of women from the 17th century. Little surprises like this, keeps me alert when walking through a museum. 

Leipzig modern art

Art installations

On the second and first floor you will find art installations that fill the large open areas of this modern museum. Unique pieces of arts that are sometimes created specifically for the museum and the space in which they exhibit.

Leipzig MdgK installaties

Encountered this art installation during my visit in February 2018

Leipzig MdbK expositie

Same place, different art work, when I visited the museum again in July

Local artists

On the second floor, you will find paintings of Max Beckmann. He was born in Leipzig. This German painter, graphic designer, sculptor and writer was born in 1884, lived in Amsterdam for several years during the Second World War and then moved to New York, where he died in 1950.

Leipzig Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann – The Battle

His paintings are very powerful and striking. Very different from the paintings by Max Klinger, who was born just 50 years before Max Beckmann. I found his artworks less interesting and his large sculpture of Beethoven, in which he uses all kinds of materials interchangeably, was frankly quite ugly. But that is art, it evokes an emotion and Max Klinger does that.

Leipzig Max Klinger

Max Klinger and his very expressionist sculpture of Beethoven

Contemporary Art in basement

My visit to this museum ended in the basement, where a temporary exhibition of Ayse Erkmen and Mona Hatoum was held. The more experimental artworks are shown here. Although, when I visited the museum for the second time in July, I noticed an exhibition together with the G2 Gallery in Leipzig. Part of this exhibition was G2 latest acquisition of a painting by Neo Rauch, a well-known Leipzig artist from the Leipziger Schule.

Leipzig kunst museum

Although I loved most of the artworks at the museum, there were some that I didn’t get.

Leipzig Neo Rauch 2018

Recent work by Neo Rauch, acquired by the G2 Kunshalle

Conclusion

Although I could not appreciate or understand all art equally well, the variation in works made the visit to this museum a fascinating experience. I have met many new artists and painters, many of whom were from the Leipzig area.

Plan your visit

Museum der Bildenden Künste is open from 10am to 6pm on Tuesdays, and Thursday till Sunday. On Wednesday the museum opens at 12 am and closes at 8 pm.

Admission is 10 euros and there is free entry each first Wednesday of the month.

Are you curious about their current exhibitions? Click here for their website.

Leipzig museum modern art

Interior of the Museum der Bildenden Künste

 

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