Market square of Warsaw, after its reconstruction 1953, © Zentralinstut für Kunstgeschichte I Phototek, Photo: 1958.

Market square of Warsaw, after its destruction 1944, © Zentralinstut für Kunstgeschichte I Phototek, Photo: 1945.

Campanile of San Marco in Venice, after its collapse 1902, © From: L'Illustrazione Italiana of 20.7.1902.

Reconstructing the Bare-Faced Witnesses to History

Golden cupola convent of Saint Michael in Kiev, view after its reconstruction 2000, © Yuri Lositskiy, Kiev.

Campanile of San Marco in Venice, after its reconstruction 1912, © Photo: Carola Jaggi, 2006.

Goethe-House Frankfurt, after its reconstruction 1951, © Frankfurter Goethe-Haus I Freies Deutsches Hochstift, Photo: David Hall, 2008.


Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Strasse 40,
+ 49 089-23805-360
The History of Reconstruction –
The Construction of History

July 22-October 10, 2010

For years reconstruction has been the subject of a heated debate. However, reconstructions can be found since Antiquity, as throughout history buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt if required, for a variety of reasons and with alternating perceptions and definitions of »reconstruction«. A look at history and a differentiated view at the concepts can help to set the problems and arguments in a wider historical context, thus relieving the current discussion of its emotional aspect.

As exposed witnesses of the past and in front of everyone’s eyes, buildings have always played a particular part in the formation and imprint of a "cultural memory."

— Jan Assmann

With a deliberate recourse, the lost "place of remembrance" is restored as an important bearer of the most diverse meanings by means of a reconstruction. Many reconstructions have never been debated, such as the re-erection of the Campanile at St. Mark’s Square in Venice after its collapse in 1902, others have been integrated into the history of the respective building and have long been historical documents themselves.

By means of 85 representative case studies and 200 reconstructions — ranging from Japan to Canada and from ancient Greece to the present day — the exhibition is presenting and analyzing the various motives in favour of reconstructing lost buildings. The spectrum embraces reconstructions carried out for reasons of religious continuity or due to national motives, as well as in response to aesthetic concepts or commercial demands. Models, paintings, plans, photographs and animations provide a comprehensive insight into a fascinating subject.

An extensive publication with 16 essays and a catalogue of renowned scholars accompany the exhibition.

House of Blackheads in Riga, after its reconstruction 2000, © House of Blackheads Riga, Photo: Ilgvars Gradovskis.

Ruin and reconstruction of the Church of our Lady in Dresden, montage, © Slub Dresden / Deutsche Fotothek, Roland Handrick; PHX DE, CC-BY-SA-2.5; Montage: © Architekturmuseum der tu München.

Grand Duke Palace of the Lower castle in Vilnius, after its reconstruction 2010, © National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Photo, Mindaugas Kaminskas, 2010.

San Paolo fuori le mura in Rome, Interior towards the choir, after its destruction, etching by Luigi Rossini, 1823, © Architekturmuseum der tu München.

San Paolo fuori le mura in Rome, Interior towards the choir, after its reconstruction, after 1854, © Architekturmuseum der tu München.