New presentation of Admont's art treasures

Admont Abbey KHM Gothic GWK © Michael Braunsteiner

ADMONT ART TREASURES NEWLY PRESENTED 

 

To mark the 950th anniversary of Admont Abbey, the Museum of Art History was relocated. It was expanded in terms of space and content and moved from the upper floor to the ground floor.

The first establishment and organisation of an art history collection at Admont Abbey was carried out in the middle of the 20th century by the abbey archivist at the time, Father Adalbert Krause. He set up an art history museum on the 2nd floor of the south wing of the monastery complex with the monastery's most valuable collections. This museum was officially opened in 1959. The press at the time spoke of a "treasure trove of Styrian art", which a good 20 years later - in 1980 - was remodelled and expanded in new rooms. Another 20 years later, from the autumn of 2000, the entire south and east wing of the monastery complex underwent a multi-year renovation and new construction phase with the aim of accommodating the various museum areas in a large and modern style. The Kunsthistorisches Museum was located on the first floor until 2023.

To mark the 950th anniversary of Admont Abbey, the Museum of Art History was relocated. It has moved from the upper floor to the ground floor. And it has been expanded in terms of space and content. Together with the sacred Gothic works in the permanent exhibition of the "Mayer Collection" in the room in front of it, all art-historical holdings are now united on one floor. In a reciprocal dialogue, the high-calibre exhibits from these two art history departments are now shown to their best advantage from a variety of perspectives. 

Admont Abbey KHM Baroque © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Gothic Romanticism © Michael Braunsteiner

The Kunsthistorisches Museum was reorganised according to chronological and thematic criteria. The first impression of the space is characterised by the high-quality exhibition architecture. The guidance system and colour concept provide clear orientation. A variety of information channels provide quick but also in-depth access to important works from the Gothic and Renaissance periods, from the Baroque and Rococo periods, and now also from the 19th and 20th centuries up to the present day. The exhibits include paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and objects from the parament and art chamber. In addition to their references to Admont Abbey, the exhibition concept focuses on contextualising them in terms of their art-historical and spiritual dimensions.

Coming from the medieval world of the "Mayer Collection", we first enter the same period with exquisite works of book art, figures of saints, panel paintings, cimelia (parts of a church treasure) and liturgical textiles. The altarpiece from Bohemia from 1375 is of particular importance, while the "Madonna and Child" by Bernard van Orley (around 1520-40) and the backgammon (around 1550) already express the spirit of the Renaissance. 

One focus is on the Baroque period, represented by paintings with sacred and secular themes by important Austrian Baroque painters such as Martin Johann Schmidt ("Kremser Schmidt") and Johann von Lederwasch. New additions include Dutch paintings by Gerard Dou and Rachel Ruysch as well as other permanent loans from the "Karl Mayr Collection".

Separate sections are dedicated to the monastery sculptor Josef Stammel (1695-1765) and the extensive work of the Admont Benedictine monk Frater Benno Haan (1631-1720). The artistic embroiderer Benno Haan created a wealth of liturgical vestments for Admont Abbey - each piece of inestimable value and the highest quality. The Baroque cimelia includes monstrances, including a magnificent Baroque festive monstrance (1741), chalices, abbots' pectoral crosses and more.

The new section now also includes 19th and 20th century art, such as paintings by Rudolf von Alt, Friedrich Gauermann, Carl Spitzweg and liturgical equipment from the neo-Gothic period. Representatives of contemporary Austrian art at the end of the tour form a bridge to the "Museum of Contemporary Art" on the 2nd floor.

A number of works that are particularly representative of the history of Admont Abbey can be found one floor up in the anniversary exhibition.

Admont Abbey KHM Gothic Romanticism © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Gothic GWK © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Gothic GWK © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Baroque © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Gothic GWK © Michael Braunsteiner
Admont Abbey KHM Gothic GWK © Michael Braunsteiner