Showing posts with label exhibitions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exhibitions. Show all posts

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Medieval art exhibitions in late 2014

We already had a chance to enjoy numerous medieval exhibitions this year - see for example my overview of exhibitions dedicated to various Holy Roman emperors -, but 2014 will close with a wonderful series of major exhibitions dedicated to the Middle Ages. I have collected information and links about the most important ones that came to my knowledge. Dear Readers, as you can see there is lots to choose from - feel free to let me know in a comment if you are planning to see some of these exhibitions. I will try to make it to Prague for the Benedictine exhibition, and will also have a chance to see two of the most famous medieval manuscripts during the Christmas holiday in New York. Here are some more details about the exhibitions, with texts copied from the various exhibition websites:

Open the Gates of Paradise - The Benedictines in the Heart of Europe, 800-1300


Prague, National Gallery (Waldstein Riding School and the Clementinum Gallery).
November 7, 2014 - March 15, 2015

"The purpose of this exhibition project is to introduce to scholars and general audiences the spiritual wealth and material culture of the Benedictine monasteries of the Early and High Middle Ages in Central Europe. The project is also intended to highlight the role of the Order of Saint Benedict in facilitating the acceptance of Christianity by the Central European nations, the adoption of Ancient Christian Mediterranean culture, and the process of the emergence and strengthening of states and statehood in Central Europe. Within this context, the term “Central Europe” is chiefly understood as the area occupied by the medieval states of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary, with the indispensable and entirely natural extension into the regions of the Holy Roman Empire. The exhibition will focus on prominent personalities of the Benedictine Order and its individual monastic centres, notably on the intermediary role they played in the cultural exchange between Western and Southern Europe, and the newly-Christianized Slavic and Hungarian territories."

The Magi. Legend, Art and Cult


Cologne, Museum Schnütgen
25 October 2014 – 25 January 2015

"In Cologne, the year 2014 will be devoted to the Magi, whose remains arrived in the cathedral city in 1164. During the Middle Ages, their relics transformed Cologne into a pilgrimage metropolis, and they became the patron saints of Cologne together with St. Ursula and St. Gereon. This is attested to by the Shrine of the Magi at Cologne Cathedral, Cologne’s coat of arms with the three crowns and numerous sculptures throughout the city.
The Museum Schnütgen has taken the anniversary as an opportunity to hold a large special exhibition. Throughout the centuries, the Magi have played a central role in art since the Three Wise Men were the first to recognise the Christ child as the Son of God. The exhibition will bring together ivories, sculptures, paintings, manuscripts and works of treasury art from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain that offer a particularly interesting interpretation of the subject and are artistically of especially high quality."

Saint Louis


Paris, Conciergerie
8 October 2014 - 11 January 2015

"A major exhibition entitled "Saint Louis" will be held in the Hall of Men-at-Armsat the Conciergerie from 8 October to 11 January 2015. This will be the culminating point of the events organised by the Centre des monuments nationaux to celebrate the 8th centenary of the birth of Louis IX in 1214.
At the age of 12, in 1226, Louis became King of France as Louis IX, in what went on to become one of the longest and most remarkable reigns in medieval France. He became a model and source of prestige for the kingdom and the Capetian dynasty, both as a king and as a saint subsequent to his canonisation just 27 years after his death.
Where better to understand Saint Louis and the issues that faced 13th-century France than in the Conciergerie, the royal residence on which he left his stamp and where he built his greatest masterpiece, the Sainte-Chapelle ? He was responsible for extending and embellishing the former Palais de la Cité, and for the time of the exhibition it will act as the showcase for 130 remarkable works which stand testimony to the intellectual energy and grace that invigorated Parisian art during his reign, and which are on loan from the collections of the greatest cultural institutions in France and abroad."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

News from Hungarian Museums

Medieval and Renaissance tapestries on view at Esztergom


Calvary
Tournai, late 15th century
Esztergom, Christian Museum 

An exhibition of tapestries has been on view at the Christian Museum in Esztergom since May.  The Museum holds a significant collection of tapestries, and together with the co-organizer - the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest - they have put on display a good selection of early tapestries.The present exhibition entitled ‘Historical and Contemporary Tapestries in Hungary’ is presents the past and present of European woven tapestry, illuminating the connections also. From the perspective of a medievalists, the first section of the exhibition is the most interesting, which is titled ‘Flemish Tapestries with Biblical and Mythological Themes from the Museum of Applied Arts and the Christian Museum’. Here one of the genre’s most significant traditions – the Flemish – is represented by Oudenaarde and Tournai tapestries kept at the Christian Museum and by the 18th-century Brussels tapestry ‘Mercury Hands Over the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs’, a work preserved at the Museum of Applied Arts. It is through this work that the rest of the exhibition - showing contemporary works - is connected to historic tapestries, via the "Web of Europe" project. The exhibition can be visited until the end of August, and is accompanied by a catalogue.


Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest purchases an early Renaissance carving



The blog of Hungarian museum journal MúzeumCafé reported that the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest had purchased an important French early Renaissance carving at an auction last week (June 5). The stone relief was once part of the famed collection of Rudolf Bedő, and was auctioned at Kieselbach Gallery and Auction House. Another medieval sculpture from the collection - a Burgundian Madonna - was also offered for sale. This news comes just a few months after the long overdue re-opening of the permanent exhibition of the Old Sculpture Collection of the museum (see my report from December) - the piece is clearly a welcome addition to this important collection.







I will list a few smaller exhibitions here as well - with link to Hungarian-language reports

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Exhibitions of Holy Roman Emperors

The big exhibition organized to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Council of Constance opened last weekend at Constance. One of the central figures of the exhibition is Emperor Sigismund, who was also the King of Hungary. However, Germany celebrates a number of other Holy Roman Emperors this year with major exhibitions - here is an overview.


Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse) - First on the list is the first emperor of the Middle Ages, Charlemagne. He died in 814, so 1200 years ago. To commemorate this event, three major exhibitions will take place in Aachen in 2014, dedicated to the culture and courtly life of Charlemagne. The trio of exhibitions will be opened on 19th June 2014 by their official patron, the Federal President. They will run from 20th June to 21st September 2014 in three prestigious venues – the Coronation Hall in Aachen’s Town Hall, the Centre Charlemagne on the Katschhof, and the Cathedral Treasury – and will present the impact, art and culture of Charlemagne. You can find more information on the three exhibitions and the three venues, as well as on the Route Charlemagne Aachen on the exhibition website. You can also have a look at this press release announcing the exhibitions (pdf).




The second emperor to be commemorated is Louis IV, called the Bavarian (Ludwig der Bayer), who ruled from 1314 until 1347. 'Ludwig the Bavarian. We are emperor!’ will be the title of the upcoming Bavarian Regional Exhibition which will tell the fascinating story of the first member of the House of Wittelsbach to ascend the imperial throne in Regensburg. The occasion is the 700th jubilee of Ludwig’s coronation as King of the Romans in 1314 (he was crowned Emperor in 1328). For the first time a large exhibition will focus on this important ruler of the late Middle Ages. The exhibition grants the visitor an insight into the history of the Bavarian duke, German king and Holy Roman Emperor and the time between 1300 and 1350, during which Bavaria became the center of Europe. The exhibition will be at the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte in Regensburg, and will be on view from May 19th until November 2, 2014. The churches and smaller museums of the town will also serve as exhibition venues.



Finally, I would like to return to the exhibition in Constance (Konstanz),  which is on view from April 27 until September 21, 2014. 2014 marks the 600th anniversary of the beginning of the Council of Constance. The Council was a major event in church politics which made Constance the center of European politics and a meeting place of European cultures in the years 1414-1418. Baden-Württemberg commemorates the anniversary of the world event of the late Middle Ages with a Great State Exhibition. The exhibition was organized by the Badische Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe. The main figure of the Council was Emperor Sigimund, who ruled as King of Hungary from 1387, and was elected King of the Romans in 1411. He ruled until 1437, and was crowned Emperor only in 1433. The exhibition is on view in the actual building in which events took place in Constance. I will report on the exhibition and the accompanying publications in more detail soon (and you can also read my preliminary report). A website has been set up for the series of events during the next four years, and also for the exhibition itself.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Medieval news from the end of 2013

There were quite a lot of things I wanted to report on at the end of 2013. I hope to come back to these subject individually in the near future - for now, I can only give a brief listing of these news.

Medieval palace chapel reopened at Esztergom

After a restoration process of about 13 years, the palace chapel of Esztergom chapel finally reopened to visitors. During this period, the chapel was completely inaccessible, as heavy scaffolding was erected inside. The chapel, which was built at the end of the 12th century, is the most important Early Gothic building in Hungary. It was decorated with a wonderful cycle of frescoes, painted in the 1330s - the best example of Italianate frescoes in Hungary. During the Turkish wars, the chapel, along with the royal (later archepiscopal) palace next to it fell to ruin, and was only uncovered between 1934-38. The restoration of the Renaissance frescoes in the adjoining room still goes on, and will probably be completed in 2015.
The website of the Castle Museum of Esztergom (a branch of the Hungarian National Museum) provides very basic information about visits to the chapel. The press kit, which can be downloaded from the website, provides a few photos of the frescoes in their restored state. The photo used here is from the press kit. A full architectural and photogrammetrical survey of the palace chapel and adjoining spaces - which was carried out in connection of the restoration - is available on the website of the company who made the survey. Reports on the reopening of the chapel were made by Hungarian press, see here and here, for example. For more photos, go to Archeologia - Altum Castrum Magazin.

Exhibition of the Sculpture Collection reopened at the Museum of Fine Arts

Horse and rider attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
The Collection of European Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest has been inaccessible for a long time, ever since the old permanent exhibition was closed some 25 years. During this period, the Gothic wooden sculptures were on display for a few years starting from 2000, and there were several temporary exhibitions organized from this material (as the Verrocchio exhibition, organized by the author of this blog). More recently, several important statues in the collection were (and remain) incorporated into the galleries of Old Master paintings. The Museum website reports on the reopening of the sculpture exhibition in detail:
"The sculptures of the Museum of Fine Arts, housed in the deposits for the past 25 years, are now presented in newly renovated rooms on the second floor of the museum. The Department of Sculpture collection includes nearly 650 European sculptures covering six centuries of artistic creation from the Middle Ages to 18th-century Classicism. The exhibition encompasses over 100 artworks, from various styles and periods, including German Late-Gothic, Italian Renaissance, and Austrian Baroque. Among the exhibited masterpieces are German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider’s (circa 1460-1531) wooden sculpture, referred to as Madonna and Child, Italian architect and sculptor Jacopo Sansovino’s (1486−1570) unique wax sculpture entitled Madonna and Child, and the extraordinary Austrian Baroque sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s (1736−1783) Character Heads. In addition to displaying the most celebrated sculptures, the museum’s exhibition also provides insights into the secrets and special production techniques of the workshops. Throughout the centuries, sculptors have experimented with several types of material, including wood, stone, ivory, terracotta, and various alloys of metal. Furthermore, over time artists developed numerous methods for decorating and painting their sculptures and reliefs. Conservators have applied the original methods and traditional materials and techniques to make samples, thus highlighting the important details of the displayed sculptures and enabling the viewer to observe and follow the various stages of the creative process." You can continue reading on the website of the museum.

Other news

Interesting things are happening elsewhere in the region as well. The Gallery of Medieval Art finally reopened at the National Museum in Warsaw. The exhibition of the Master of the Liechtenstein Castle remains open until February 23, at the Belvedere in Vienna. Finally, the exhibition on the Florentine connections of Hungarian Renaissance art is closing this weekend in Florence.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bethlen 400

Egidius Sadeler II: Gábor Bethlen, c. 1620
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the rule of Gábor Bethlen as Prince of Transylvania. To commemorate this, a series of events are being organized both in Hungary and Romania in the Bethlen Memorial Year. The following overview is given by the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

"400 years ago, on 23 October, 1613, Gabriel Bethlen (1580–1629), the most significant Prince of Transylvania ascended the throne. He had to take over a devastated country, empty treasury and desperate politicians due to the ill-considered policy of his immediate predecessor and the damages of the Long Turkish War (1593-1606). The existence of the Principality of Transylvania was restricted by the Turkish protectorate and threatened by the Habsburg Empire. The situation was even worsened by the political and economic crisis affecting all Europe. Gabriel Bethlen was able to get out of this seemingly hopeless situation with recognizing the possibilities lying just in these desperate circumstances. He created a new, effective team of politicians, a court of high European standards, and with brilliant organizing work he could stabilize the political and economic situation in Transylvania. He connected to the European diplomatic and military processes. He generated a powerful military force, and arranged the situation – having been unresolved for more than half a century – of the Székelys forming the main part of the army. His military actions coordinated with his allies were supplemented with his many-folded diplomatic activity. With his peace treaties he was able to enlarge the territory of the Principality of Transylvania, becoming part of the European alliance system with the Treaties of Hague and Westminster. He was elected and ceremonially acclaimed king of Hungary on 25 August 1620, but later he refused to be crowned which made it possible for him to come to an agreement with the Habsburg Monarch and to keep the Ottoman Empire from gaining more influence and from expanding in Transylvania. From then on, Transylvania became the main support for the political and cultural endeavors of Hungarian estates in the Habsburg Empire. The tolerant religious policy of the protestant ruler made Transylvania a host country again. He provided the training of “up-to-date” intellectuals with founding schools and university scholarships. His multifaceted activity served as inspiration for generations from his age on through the centuries."

I would like to call attention to a few exhibitions and events of the Bethlen Memorial Year.

An exhibition on Gábor Bethlen and his era is currently on view at the Hungarian National Archives.



Opening next month (on view November 12, 2013 - February 2, 2014) is the main exhibition of the memorial year at the Hungarian National Museum. Titled Bethlen 1613, the exhibition is organized together with the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Coming up this week is the international conference Gábor Bethlen and Europe, at Kolozsvár / Cluj (October 24-26, 2013). More information on the website of the organizers, the Transylvanian Museum Society and the Hungarian Historical Institute of the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj.




Bonus:  In May 2013, an episode of the PBS-program Antiques Roadshow featured an exceptionally rare object, a diamond marriage pendant associated with the wedding of Gábor Bethlen and Catherine of Brandenburg (1626). The object is part of a series, last seen together at the 1884 exhibition of goldsmith works held in Budapest. One pendant of the series is at the Hungarian National Museum, while another similar object is in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. (via the Institute of History)
You can read about these jewels in the journal of the museum, Ars Decorativa (vol. 24).

Marriage pendant shown in Antiques Roadshow, source: pbs.org


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Medieval exhibitions in New York

I am currently on vacation in the New York area, and thus I had a chance to explore the museums of New York City a little bit. As always, there are plenty of medieval things on offer here - the following is my recommendation to lovers of medieval art (you can have a look at what NYC had to offer last summer in my earlier post).

The Corvinus dish. Metropolitan Museum 
The Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to medieval art, opened 75 years ago, in 1938. To celebrate the anniversary, there is a special exhibition there, titled Search for the Unicorn. The focus of the exhibition is the most famous set of objects in The Cloisters: the Unicorn tapestries. The exhibition, consiting of about forty works drawn mainly from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, provides an overview of the subject of unicorns in medieval and Renaissance art and belief. One of the highlights for me was a well-known piece, the magnificent Corvinus-dish with the coat of arms of Matthias Corvinus and his wife, Beatrice of Aragon, showing the unicorn and a maiden. The dish - along with related pieces in the Victoria and Albert Museum and at Berkeley - was made in Pesaro, likely for the wedding of Matthias and Beatrice in 1476. Another object of Hungarian connection on view was a bone saddle from the series generally associated with King Sigismund's Order of the Dragon.

While the exhibition itself is not too large - and the focus of it is part of the permanent display of the Cloisters - it was good to see that the renovation and reinstallation of the Cloisters galleries is now complete, and the works can be enjoyed in wonderful circumstances.

Jean Barbet: Angel, 1475
The Frick Collection 
Accross Central Park from the Metropolitan Museum, at the Bard Graduate Center, a special exhibition also drawn from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum can be seen, dedicated to Georges Hoentschel. Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art focuses on Hoentschel as a collector and a ceramic artist. The highlight of the exhibition is his collection, which entered the Metropolitan Museum as a gift of J. Pierpont Morgan in the early twentieth century, and consist largely of medieval objects. This section displays medieval artworks, including sculpture, ivories, and metalwork, and includes one of the finest surviving examples of French Limoges enamelwork: a twelfth-century reliquary container. The most dramatic object, however, is on loan from The Frick Collection: a large bronze angel from Lyon, dated 1475. The exhibition is on view until Aug. 11.


Elevation of the Eucharist, detail from the Della Rovere Missal
Italy, Rome, ca. 1485–90
The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum presents and exhibition of medieval manuscripts, titled Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art. According to the website, "featuring more than sixty-five exquisitely illuminated manuscripts, Illuminating Faith offers glimpses into medieval culture, and explores the ways in which artists of the period depicted the celebration of the sacrament and its powerful hold on society." The exhibition features some of the highlights of the Morgan Library's collection, such as the Stefaneschi Missal or the Farnese Hours, as well as a few medieval liturgical objects. A selection of objects is available on the website. You can read more about the exhibition in the Huffington Post. I would like to mention that a manuscript made in Buda (Hungary) is on display as well: the Kálmáncsehi Breviary and Missal, dating from 1481 (MS G.7).

Finally, I would like to call attention to one exhibition which I have missed: Writing the Word: A Selection of Medieval Latin Biblical Manuscripts in Columbia Collections was on display in Butler Library at Columbia University, until July 5. The exhibition featured codices and fragments from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) and the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary. The manuscripts, which span the period from the eighth to the fifteenth century, demonstrated the range of scripts, formats, and versions in which the Latin Bible circulated during the western European Middle Ages.