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Exhibition Verborgen Parel (Hidden Gem)

Museum depots with shelves full of paintings are true candy stores for curators. Yet sometimes they miss a piece… just like a panel painting from 1425 depicting The Crucifixion.

location
Utrecht, the Netherlands
client
Museum Catharijneconvent
year
2020
status
completed
type
interior architecture
program
scenography
size
200 sqm
partners
Ward Warmoeskerken
project playlist

For years, the painting hung low on a rack in the dark. Warped, gray, colorless and full of damage. The composition was covered by a layer of yellowed varnish and surface dirt. The wooden panel was painted nearly six centuries ago by the Master of the Lamentation of Christ at Lindau. Very few pieces from this time have survived. Now that it has been partially cleaned, the true beauty of the artwork becomes visible.

The exhibition Verborgen Parel (Hidden Gem) centers around this work. Employing a short film, textual information and complementary wood sculptures, depth is given to the art-historical value and meaning of the work at various layers. In this exhibition, the visitor is brought close to the artwork.

The background is embossed so that the figures and tendrils stand out from the background.
The background is embossed so that the figures and tendrils stand out from the background.
Details are superfluous: insects, plants, blood and body hair. The Crucifixion is a unique link between painting, sculpture and goldsmithing.
Details are superfluous: insects, plants, blood and body hair. The Crucifixion is a unique link between painting, sculpture and goldsmithing.

Looking for a masterpiece...

 

 

Discovery is at the core of the exhibition experience. Just as the curators discovered the art piece in the museum’s depot, in a darkened refectory, the visitor discovers a gleaming painting lit by a moving searchlight. Also, through a slow-art approach, the visitor can discover the painting’s special details and their meaning.

 

The panel painting hangs behind a curtain made of rich fabrics in shades of purple, pink, and blue.
The halos of Christ, Mary and John return on the cloth, as well as the drops of blood of Christ that refer to the Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The curtain is decorated with applications that refer to the panel painting’s characteristics.

Discovery is at the core of the exhibition experience.

Photography: Mike Bink