231109: Kunsthistorisches Museum: Charles the Bold – Splendour and fall of the last Duke of Burgundy

Kunsthistorisches Museum: Charles the Bold – Splendour and fall of the last Duke of Burgundy Autumn Charles the Bold, known by his enemies as Charles the Terrible, was bold beyond the range of tolerance. He involved himself in a series of wars and battles with France and Switzerland, which ultimately led to his downfall and death. Not even his marriage policy could save him. In 1477, he perished in the Battle of Nancy. What remains of him is the orthodoxy of the court ceremonial and his Knighthood of the Golden Fleece, the reign over Flanders and its extremely wealthy cities, numerous precious objects, and Austria’s disposal over these treasures. The exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) is the first exhibit organized entirely by the new director. But the decision to do so was not really bold. The KHM’s divisions are in line: contributions were made the KHM's painting collection, the armoury, and the art chamber even offered its rooms. But there are two things one would have desperately needed, which are not on display. The only fairly good authentic portrait of the audacious debutant, created in Rogier’s workshop, domiciled today in Berlin, is missing. Instead the exhibit is plastered with copies of this painting; and there is even a baroque-like new interpretation of Rubens from the museum’s own collection. And what else is missing is the most important example of book painting, Maria of Burgundy’s hour book; to be found in the Austrian National Library. It is surprising that this book is not displayed, because the practice to show a copy instead of the original throughout the entire exhibition is unchallenged. The most important book on the topic is titled “Autumn of the Middle Ages”. The author Johan Huizinga emphasizes that the Old Dutch 15th century was not a new beginning, but rather the late years, the triumphant but definitive end of an era. It is therefore unavoidable to remark that the exhibition of the KHM under the new directorship is not exactly what one would consider a start. It is, precisely, autumn. By Rainer Metzger Kunsthistorisches Museum 1010 Vienna, Burgring 5, until 10.01.10 http://www.khm.at

Kunsthistorisches Museum
1010 Wien, Burgring 5
Tel: +43 1 525 24 0
Email: info@khm.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 9.00-18.00

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