Museum Barberini Potstam | Christie’s

In 1771, the king commissioned a building closely modelled on the Palazzo Barberini in Rome: a Baroque palace from the previous century designed by three of that day’s leading architects, Carlo Maderno, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini.

The Palais Barberini, as Potsdam’s new building was known, boasted a superb location to go along with its grand appearance — opposite St Nicholas’s Church, on the east side of the main square, the Alter Markt, backing onto the River Havel. The building had many different functions over the years, and at one point it was home to the city’s first cinema.

Thanks to the construction efforts of Frederick the Great’s successors, Potsdam itself continued to grow over the decades, becoming an opulent royal city — only for Allied bombing in 1945 to reduce much of it, including the Palais Barberini, to rubble. The city became part of the GDR (East Germany) after the Second World War, and the site previously occupied by the Palais was used as a car park.

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