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Expressiveness in Art
The Crucifixion by the Master of Meßkirch from the Würth Collection

23.07.2015 to 03.01.2016

A 'cabinet exhibition' in the Kunstkammer Würth, on show at the Bode-Museum

The Kunstkammer Würth has been on display in the Bode-Museum since the museum reopened in 2006. The Kunstkammer, or historical 'cabinet of art', features some 30 works from the private collection of businessman, art collector, and patron of the arts, Reinhold Würth. As such, it is an ideal accompaniment to the museum's own holdings. The artworks usually presented in the Bode-Museum are currently on display at the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall, south Germany, in the exhibition 'Miraculous Silver – The V&A at Kunstkammer Würth'. Until their return in January 2016, a seminal work in the canon of early German painting held in the Würth Collection will go on temporary display in the Bode-Museum: The Crucifixion by the Master of Meßkirch. Visitors will have an opportunity to see several more highlights from the Würth Collection in Berlin later this year, in the exhibition 'From Hockney to Holbein', which will open on 11 September 2015 at the Gropius Bau.

Expressiveness in Art

In the early years of the Reformation, the veneration of religious images increasingly fell into bad repute as a sign of idolatry and led, in many regions, to the Protestant iconoclasm. During this same time, painters, sculptors, and printmakers in the southern German lands created works of art of a startling immediacy that had never been seen before. Their works featured complex spatial planes, flowing drapery presented in motion, distortions, and stark colour contrasts – all intended to stir the viewer emotionally. They aroused the viewer's sense of participation in the scene and lent new accents to the religious themes which in many cases already boasted a centuries-old visual tradition in art.

A key figure in this rising expressivity is an anonymous artist best known for the main altar of the parish church St. Martin in Meßkirch. Scholars still do not know where the artist worked, but his painting bears clear stylistic references to the painting of Nuremberg and of Ulm from the early 16th century. His monumental Crucifixion is now on loan from the Würth Collection at the Bode-Museum until January 2016. In this special, temporary display, it can be seen alongside other stylistically and thematically related works from the Staatliche Museen's collection of late Gothic and early Renaissance works from the southern German lands.

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