The Silks of Medieval Spain

Photo:Silk fabric, decoration with stripes, and an Arabic inscription; Granada, 14th century; Abegg Stiftung, inv. nr. 5838.

The exhibition sheds light on the history of medieval Spain by presenting costly textiles from that period. Most of the exhibits are silks dating from the 12th to 15th century that were made by Muslim weavers but preserved in a Christian context. These objects are essential as contemporary sources for the changing balance of power between Christian and Muslim rulers. At the same time, they attest to the fruitful exchange that took place between religions and cultures. Silk-weaving also arrived on the Iberian Peninsula with Arab and Moorish culture in the eighth century. The Muslim weavers were masters of their trade, and they produced the most magnificent fabrics. Their silks were luxury products that attracted the attention far beyond the boundaries of their culture.

Whether as war booty, diplomatic gifts or expensive merchandise, they passed into the hands of the Christian kings and church dignitaries of northern Spain. Many fabrics survived due to the use by the church. These textiles were a defining element of the culture of representation in both Muslim and Christian Spain until well into the Late Middle Ages. The artistic centres of the north, by contrast, including cities such as Burgos and Barcelona, were known primarily for their exquisite embroideries with Christian motifs.

Carl Spitzweg

Carl Spitzweg (1808 - 1885), Der arme Poet (the poor poet), 1838. Oil on canvas, 37.9 x 45 cm. Privat collection. Photo: Kunstmuseum Winterthur

The painter Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885) is a well-known German artist from Munich, almost unknown in other countries. He was an accurate and critical observer of his (Biedermeier) time, which he described with humour and irony. The exhibition features his well-known and lesser-known works.  He connects his region (Heimat) and the longing and nostalgia for it, the Idylle and the often harsh reality, tradition and modernity. The exhibition is organised in close collaboration with the Georg Schäfer Museum in Schweinfurt. This museum has the largest collection of the artist. The result is a representative exhibition about the work and life of this painter.



Albert-Edgar Yersin

Albert-Edgar Yersin, «Plissement du parc», 1965 - 1970. Encre et lavis sur papier. Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Acquisition, 2012

Albert-Edgar Yersin (1905-1984) was a master of the art and craft of drawing. The exhibition showcases some of his most powerful creations. From his childhood in America to his final days in Lausanne, Albert-Edgar Yersin was an avid draughtsman, roughing out numerous landscapes, copying paintings by Old Masters, transferring his own sketches to metal plates, experimenting with a range of techniques, and inventing his own highly original style drawing on Surrealism, abstraction and figurative art. He influenced a generation of artists and sparking a new wave of interest in etching and artists’books.