Miracle – Everyday Life – Family

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The collection of drawings, prints, and books of the Liberna Collection forms the starting point for this exhibition. Devoted to images of the Holy Family in everyday surroundings, the show features works from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
The exhibition begins with medieval examples of miracle scenes from sumptuous manuscripts and incunabula – scenes that illustrate the emergence of the pictorial subject of the Holy Family in everyday settings. The proliferation and further development of this subject before and during the Reformation is represented in the show by prints by Albrecht Altdorfer and Albrecht Dürer. After the Reformation, depictions of the daily life of the Holy Family changed, as seen, for example, in etchings by Dutch artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Ferdinand Bol. In the 19th century, the Nazarenes revisited the subject in their religious works, and, as a consequence, communicated the ideal of domestic virtue.

The presentation will feature three manuscripts and numerous incunabula as well as seven engravings from our own collection. Also on view will be a series of 13 prints by Hieronymus Wierix, on loan from the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, and drawings by the Nazarenes from the Landesmuseum Mainz and the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf.

A publication, richly illustrated and featuring four essays that explore the subject in greater detail, will accompany this showcase exhibition.

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Ferdinand Bol, The Holy Family in a Room, 1643

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The Holy Family at Work, from: Rosary on the Life of Christ, Southern Netherlands, 1516

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Albrecht Altdorfer, The Virgin and St Anne at the Cradle, early 16th century

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Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1645