The Museum of Fine Arts contains major works from the Romanesque to Rococo periods in the form of paintings, sculptures, textiles and many other objects from the collection of liturgical items and treasures held at Admont Abbey.
In the entrance area, visitors are ‘welcomed’ by a recently acquired masterpiece: a Gothic Madonna with child dating to the 15th century and carved by Jakob Kaschauer. There is an annually changing selection of liturgical objects on view in the large display cases. Among the clerical vestments from various epochs are the so-called ‘Gebhards mitre’ (dating to the late 14th century) and a chasuble for a funeral Mass (16th century). The highlight of the textile collection is the remarkable work of the Admont Benedictine Benno Haan (1631 – 1720). He created a wealth of liturgical vestments and paraments for Admont Abbey that are of extremely high quality and are now priceless in terms of value. Further information to Benno Haan.
In addition to this embroidery work, also to be seen in the Museum of Fine Arts are stained glass items and painted panels of the 15th century, a portable altar (1375), the Gebhards crozier with its ivory crook (12th/13th century), an abbot’s staff made of a narwhal tusk (c. 1680), the magnificent Baroque feast day monstrance, chalices, pectoral crosses worn by abbots and paintings produced by major Austrian artists of the Baroque, such as Martin Johann Schmidt (‘Kremser Schmidt’), Martino and Bartolomeo Altomonte, Johann Lederwasch and many others. An individual room is dedicated to the work of the Abbey’s own sculptor, Josef Stammel (1695 – 1765).
The final room of the Museum of Fine Arts has been made available since 2003 to contemporary artists to enable them to stage ‘artistic interventions’. No more than a portal separates the art of the periods from the Middles Ages to the Rococo from the art of the present day. The visitor can thus, as it were, traverse 200 years of history in a split second. This makes apparent the extent to which Admont Abbey identifies with modern art and endeavours to create a coherent dialogue between contemporary works and those of past epochs. In the 2017 season, the room is being used for an artistic intervention by Carola Willbrand.
2017 Carola Willbrand, Heaven’s inferno dress – A penetrable chasuble made of used fabric provided by the artist, floats like a tent in a room. The hand-sewn art on it depicts the dance of death. The individual handmade paper can be folded akin to the fanfold paper. The fanfold paper as a means to create a space-filling sculptural design for an artist’s book has for long been an artistic preoccupation of Carola Willbrand. This work links to the historical fabric of Admont Abbey of Benno Haan and to the new Gothic exhibition in the abbey. This dress, which is also a tent, represents a heavenly tent in the image of creation. And the other side depicts the entire story of the global textile trade, right up to the low-price fabric of our times manufactured under intolerable conditions.
Curator: Michael Braunsteiner
More info – Room for artistic interventions
The whole museum is barrier-free!
Special exhibition 2017
Neo/New – Rediscoveries in the Museum of Fine Art
To complement the unique exhibition of Gothic art that will be on view in the museum of Admont Abbey from May 2017, Admont’s Museum of Fine Arts will be putting several special rarities on display in the 2017 season.
Following the devastating fire in Admont in 1865, Admont Abbey church was rebuilt in the then contemporary neo-Gothic style. At the same time, a wealth of liturgical objects that reflected the principles of the Gothic Revival were created for the new church but also for the monks who, like their successors today, had a marked interest in art. These chalices, ciboria, monstrances and other items may fall short of the medieval Gothic examples in terms of artistic power, but are still manifestations of an artistic movement that has not only left behind significant traces in Admont Abbey church but had a marked influence throughout the whole of Europe. In recent years, it has been one of the main tasks of the collection’s custodian, Father Maximilian, to arrange for the restoration of these all too frequently denigrated items. A selection of these is now to be put on display to the public for the first time.
The ‘Christmas vestments’, the masterpiece of the Admont monk Brother Benno Haan created in the 1680s, will again be on display after a longer period of seclusion in the Abbey’s vestment chamber. Richness of imagery, skilled needlework of exemplary quality – this is one of the finest examples of Baroque art made in Admont Abbey and created for the sole glory of God. In addition, on display for the first time will be Baroque vestments in the rare liturgical colour rose pink, another gem of textile workmanship.
Curator: Father Maximilian Schiefermüller OSB
Further information to all exhibitions 2017.