Dr Julien Drouart
Hunting Castle Museum Jagdschloss: A magnificent collection of paintings
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
On the edge of a beautiful lake where Berliners walk their pets, a huge Prussian building welcomes you. Here you will find the Hunting Castle Museum Jagdschloss and several painting treasures.
A visit to the Jagdchloss Museum is optional.
On the edge of the vast Grunewald forest lies the former hunting lodge of the Electors of the Mark of Brandenburg, part of which today houses a museum. The beautifully restored 16th-century building with its Renaissance style dominates a sumptuous ensemble, immersing the visitor in a majestic yet rustic atmosphere.
The setting is perfect for a Sunday wander. Difficult to reach, the place remains above all a most popular holiday resort in the west of the capital, between café/cake and dog bathing areas, between nature and tradition.
After the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty, the building was handed over to the Prussian Administration of State Castles and Gardens. Although works from the private collections of the deposed monarchs were exhibited, it was not until the late 1970s that the Hunting Castle Museum Jagdschloss was opened.
Unsuspected pictorial treasures
The Hunting Castle (Jagdschloss) Museum itself offers the visitor two separate areas. On the ground floor there is an exhibition on the history of the castle with the theme of hunting. The paintings showing the various monarchs engaged in hunting are an excellent guide to the ambitions of Prussian power. However, the exhibition is rather short and the few objects on display, a musket, some magnificent seats and other hunting trophies, are unfortunately quickly overlooked.
On the first floor, the museum reveals its richness by displaying numerous paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, master of the German Renaissance, and also the presence of fantastic 15th and 16th century wood paintings. Given the relative isolation of the museum and its small size, it is simply incredible to come face to face with gems of oil painting, from the Passion scenes to the now iconic portraits of Adam and Eve.
An uneven but successful ensemble
Despite its small size, the ensemble proves to be very surprising and the Renaissance prevails. Off-centre, difficult to access and cruelly lacking in information or even relief, its intrinsic quality alone does not make this museum a must-see on any visit to Berlin. If they are not antagonistic, the two exhibitions do not seem to be complementary either. The theme of hunting is skimmed over in an unconvincing way, while the richest exhibition also turns out to be the least connected to its surroundings.
The availability of the staff and their kindness will be all the more appreciated by the neophyte and the initiated. In the end, a visit to this museum should be seen as part of a wider outing along the western lakes and the many classical or folkloric festivities organised throughout the year by the Jagdschloss administration.
Reasons to go
The absolutely beautiful setting
The combination of culture, gastronomy and tradition
The treasures of German oil painting
Reasons to avoid
The lack of public transport connections
The unconvincing hunting exhibition
An aseptic interior space with no furniture