The Art Library is one of the largest specialized libraries for art history and cultural studies in the world. Founded in 1867, it’s home to over 400,000 works including fine-art drawings, photos, posters, advertisements, and a book design collection. It’s also a research institute which aims to gain new perspectives on important themes in art. These interdisciplinary outlooks range from the history of the art trade to the rise and evolution of international art styles and movements to the shared origins of Western and non-European art.
Part of Berlin’s massive Kulturforum, the library is surrounded by a number of cultural complexes. Many visitors combine it with a trip with the Modern Art Museum or the Musical Instrument Museum. Visitors can purchase the Berlin Pass to gain free entry to the library along with 50 other attractions in Berlin.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Art Library is a must-visit for art lovers and graphic designers.
- The entire museum is fully wheelchair accessible, including elevators and parking areas.
- The Kunstbibliothek also offers an on-site restaurant and museum shop, neither of which require admission tickets.
How to Get There
The Art Library is located at Matthaikirchplatz 6, adjacent to Potsdamer Platz. Visitors can take city bus M48 to the Potsdamer Brucke stop or bus 200 to the Philharmonie stop to access the Kunstbibliothek as well as the Kulturforum. The closest underground stations are U-Potsdamer Platz and U-Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park, both about a 10-minute walk from the library.
When to Get There
Visitors generally spend four hours exploring the contents of the Kunstbibliothek. For the most contemplative experience, it’s best to visit the Art Library in the early morning when there are fewer visitors. Note that on Mondays, the library is open for research only.
The Costume Library:
Among the many collections of the Art Library, one that stands out is the Lipperheide Costume Library which holds the world’s largest collection of images on the history of clothing and fashion. It is comprised of thousands of pieces of magazines, drawings, photos, and paintings of clothing stretching as far back as the 16th century.