Exhibitions

29 October 2011–4 March 2012 — Schloss Köpenick

War Court in Köpenick!
Anno 1730: Crown Prince-Katte-Order of the King

In 1730 the Prussian king and his eldest son had become so estranged from each other that the Crown Prince decided to flee abroad. His plan failed. As a result, Crown Prince Friedrich was brought before a war court in the Köpenick Palace where he, and his friend who had abetted him, Lieutenant Hans Hermann von Katte, fought for their lives. more >

24 January–14 October 2012 — Bode-Museum

It's Enough for 8 Groschen ...
Frederick the Great Seen through His Coins and Medals

Coins and medals reflect the history of Prussia and its great king in an immediate way: quite literally in the palms of our hands. No other European monarch wrought such wide-reaching changes to his country's coinage and monetary system as Frederick II of Prussia. With his coinage reforms of 1750 and 1764, he not only set Prussia on a new course, but also significantly paved the way for later monetary developments in the rest of Germany. more >

27 January–24 June 2012 — Musikinstrumenten-Museum

Frederick's 'Montezuma'.
Power and Meaning in the Prussian Court Opera

The exhibition centres around the 'tragedy for music', Montezuma, composed in 1755 by Carl Heinrich Graun and performed for the first time in the royal opera house on Unter den Linden. Frederick the Great personally wrote the opera's libretto. more >

16 March–29 July 2012 — Kupferstichkabinett

On the Edge of Reason.
The Picture Series in the Age of the Enlightenment

The exhibition whisks visitors to the murky edges of the Age of Reason. The creative and fantastical visual world of the capriccio thrived all the way through the 18th century, existing beyond the intellectual, socially critical and emancipatory endeavours of the Enlightenment. Stock themes of myth and reality, of antiquity and the modern day, of arcadias and Commedia dell´Arte, of ornament and decay all merge, piece-by-piece to form a kaleidoscope of playfully vivid imaginings. The pictures on display here depict the fancifully capricious but equally dark, irrational sides of nature, architecture and humankind. more >

23 March–24 June 2012 — Alte Nationalgalerie

'…Old Fritz, Who Lives in his People'.
The Image of Frederick the Great in Adolph Menzel

Between them, the National Gallery and the Kupferstichkabinett have in their collecitons most of the paintings and works on paper that the young Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) created depicting the life of Frederick the Great. Besides the many famous pictures from this time, executed with an enthusiastic eye for detail, we also have hundreds of studies, working proofs and woodblocks from the artist's numerous major illustrative series. more >

10 May–5 August 2012 — Sonderausstellungshallen Kulturforum

On the Plurality of Worlds.
The Arts of the Enlightenment

The European Enlightenment is famed as an epoch of literature and philosophy, an epoch of writing. Its significance for the fine arts, however, has often been overlooked, which is unfair, for in art the Enlightenment found a force that is able to change our world by creating new ones. The exhibition 'On the Plurality of Worlds' revolves around this revolutionary idea, inspired by the speculations of Enlightenment thinkers that our cosmos is merely one of many universes. The exhibition derives its name from the title of a book that fuelled the imaginations of Enlightenment thinkers more than any other: Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle's Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds, published in 1686. more >

8 June–31 December 2012 — Museen Dahlem

China and Prussia.
Porcelain and Tea

Examples of Chinese porcelain are on display that once formed part of the porcelain service for Frederick II, crafted sometime around 1755. The 'Royal Prussian Asiatic Company in Emden to Canton and China' was founded by the king and from 1750 to 1757 it sent four trade ships to East Asia. On its return to Emden in north Germany, one of these ships bore the dinner service, embellished with the Prussian coat of arms, as a gift for the king. more >

15 June–28 October 2012 — Schloss Köpenick

Porcelain for the Palaces of Frederick the Great

During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) Frederick II had Prussian troops take control of the Meissen porcelain factory and ordered scores of highly coveted porcelain works be produced for his court. In 1761 he encouraged Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky (who became a leading merchant and financier in Frederick II's reign), to set up his own porcelain factory in the Prussian capital Berlin. But when this commercial venture was poised to fail, the king swiftly decided to take over the production site and in 1763 established it as a royal factory, with the royal sceptre as its trademark. more >

6 July–30 September 2012 — Kunstbibliothek

Homme de lettres.
Federic. The King at his Writing Desk

The exhibition 'Homme de lettres - Féderic: The King at his Writing Desk' traces the broad spectrum of Frederick the Great's literary output and its impact. The exhibition revolves around several key questions such as: how did governance, conducted from the monarch's study, actually work? What did dominion over Prussia look like when seen from the perspective of the king's writing desk? What was the intellectual context in which Frederick's historical and political works were written? What was the dynastic and intellectual background to Frederick's correspondence? Other areas covered in the exhibition are Frederick as a musician and composer, the portrayal of the king as a literary figure in films of the twentieth century, Frederick's relation to his hounds and his trusted confidants (his lector and lords-in waiting). more >