14 June, 2008

Accretionary Wedge #10 - Geology in Art

John from Geological Musings in the Taconic Mountains is calling for our contributions to Geology in Art, the 10th Accretionary Wedge Carnival. I must admit I am not well versed in the arts and finding a good topic was rather hard but taking two long walks across Berlin I came across so many different kinds of rocks that the really hard choice was to make a selection because one could easily fill book volumes with it. So here we have my walk around Berlin, mostly in in the district of Mitte and close to Kreuzberg where I live. I will throw in a few bits and pieces of modern history, as well.

My usuall walk through town oftens brings me to Checkpoint Charlie, the former hot spot of the Cold War and symbol of the devision of Berlin, and the world. So a few days ago I was leaving the American Sector...

...which always gives me a bit of a chill dispite the hords of tourists that are flooding the place every day. Sadly enough only concrete here.

Starting from Checkpoint Charlie the first great square that you need to visit is Gendarmenmarkt. Two cathedrals are at the sides and the opera inbetween making it a wonderful place. Here is a view north towards the French Cathedral. Construction material for both sculpturing and building is sandstone from various locations within Germany.

The blue tents are from the celebration of the birthday of the state of Israel. Notice the white statue in the centre? Let us have a closer look.

A statue of the German poet and dramatist Schiller constructed around 1980. Pure white and shining Carrara marble will blind your eyes on bright days supporting the noble statue. The base of the statue if also marble.

However, as you can see, definitly not from Carrara! This is Gris Siboney - marble from Cuba! A tribute to good relations between the former German Democratic Republic and the socialist brother nation of Cuba.

Moving fast forward to today. Today I had the excellent opportunity to meet with EffJot from the same named Geoblog! Together with a view students of his University we had a short but informativ field trip in Berlin - Dimension stones and their use! There is a plethora of variaty in dimension stones used in the centre of Berlin. Almost 350 different kinds of rock can be found in building, pavement and art from all over the world and all geologic ages.

Isn't this a wonderful piece of great art? Purest white marble used in a statue at the German National Gallery. The inside floor was a wonderful color play of limestones and marble, too. Unfortunately I took no fotos.

Just outside though we can observe well preserved and maintaned Cretacous Elbesandstein (sandstone) from Saxony. It is soft enough to be transformed by able hands into wonderful art, as well. Below you can observ another great piece of sandstone architecture. The Berlin Cathedral! There are several dozen (48 I think) different kinds of rock used in this building from sedimentary and magmatic and metamorphic origin.

Last but not least a jump back to modern history preserved in an old piece of art. The huge granite bowl of the pleasure garden in front of the Old Museum on the Museum Island right opposite the Berlin Cathedral.

The bowl was made in 1830 by Christian Gottlieb Cantian by order of the Prussian king from a single, large reddish granite bolder with lots of K-feldspar exhibiting large crystal with twining. It is the largest bowl manufactured from a single piece of rock. Looking closely we can find the traces of World War 2 engraved for eternity into this bowl.

I used circles to point out the most prominent bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin. As a matter of fact one can find bullet holes from that battle all over Berlin on historic buildings.

Battle damages have been left in place as monuments against war and to remind everyone who walks by.

Hope you enjoyed my short Berlin Geology in Art tour.


Silver Fox said...

I think it's a very neat idea to go and wander around town (a large city) finding art made of geology (stone, marble) -- and then you've led us quite a ways into the history of the area, and you've also given me a great sense of Berlin as a place, even though I've never been there.

effjot said...

So you've been quicker than me to blog about that trip…

But if you ask nicely *g*, I'll send you some pictures of the cross-bedded sandstones on the outside wall of Alte Nationalgalerie or of the Pergamon Museum floor.

Lost Geologist said...

Silver Fox: Thanks for your appreciation! I was pondering doing something like this for a while and this Wedge gave me the right kind of environment for it.

effjot: sure, send them over your fotos!

Michael Hahl - proreg said...

Sehr schön! Kombinationen such like "Geo in Art" sind absolut spannend!

patricia.petersen said...

Enjoyed the tour. I think that the granite fountain in the Lustgarten is part of a very large erratic (Findling?) from s field just outside Berlin. T. Fontane mentions it in his Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg. (volume on the Spreewald?)