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north and south exhibition opens at museum catharijneconvent

2019-10-25

On Thursday 24 October, the temporary exhibition North & South opened at the Museum Catharijneconvent. Rare masterpieces from the High Middle Ages were brought together from Norway and Spain. It’s a unique combination - this type of art from Middle Europe has been all but lost. Tinker designed a voyage of discovery to the origins of these extraordinary objects.

The starting point for North & South is the oldest wooden statue of the Virgin Mary (around 1240 CE) in the museum's collection.  This 'mysterious' Mary raises many questions. Where was her home in the Middle Ages and what was her function? Visitors will discover that her family members can be found in the far north and south of Europe and that there are remarkable similarities in the visual language, as travel was quite common at the time. In addition, all these pieces are linked to the altar, although a complete altar from the High Middle Ages has not been preserved anywhere in the world.   

A highlight - and the grand finale - of the exhibition is the way Mary is magically returned to her original context. Tinker brings her spiritual world to life in a 3D experience of the medieval altar. By means of projections, art, music, and scent, visitors get to experience how medieval people may have experienced the celebration of Mass.  

Curator Micha Leeflang: ‘This is the first time we can present a complete picture of an altar from the period between 1100 and 1350. This unique exhibition brings a forgotten part of history to life.’ 

Most altar decorations have never left their country of origin before because of their frailty. At Museum Catharijneconvent, you get to compare Mary with her contemporaries and admire them together. The colourful graphic layer connects the past to the present. The modern iconographic style adds depth and context to the collection on display.  

The North & South exhibition is on view from 25 October 2019 to 26 January 2020.