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Events in Art and Archaeology

Drinking horn, Denmark, AD 1400–1499
Drinking horn, Denmark, AD 1400–1499
The Pillars of Europe: The Middle Ages at the British Museum
MADRID  •  ”la Caixa” Foundation  •  19 October 2016 - 5 February 2017

In contrast to preconceived ideas about the Middle Ages as a dark period of struggle and superstition, fear and ignorance, the show explores a view of the Middle Ages as a time of great artistic talent and cultural development, of profound political, religious and economic changes. These objects from the British Museum testify to the rich material culture of both the ruling elites and other medieval communities, offering a glimpse of shared themes from across medieval Europe, such as the splendour of the royal courts, the central role that the Church played in everyday life, the formation of states and the expansion of urban centres.

Although historians employ the terms “medieval” and “Middle Ages” with a certain degree of flexibility, generally speaking these terms are used to designate the period in the history of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth.

Over the course of this period, major changes affected all levels of society. The Europe of the sixteenth century was very different from the world of the fifth. All over the continent, splendid cathedrals and castles were built, many of them still standing even today, and urban expansion transformed the landscape. As the power and status of rulers increased, so borders and cultures became more firmly established, laying the foundations for the modern European nationstates. The Church dominated everyday life and attitudes, while the expansion of trade routes, both within Europe and beyond, led to an increase in contacts between cultures. Skilled artisans created ornate works, rich in extraordinary detail, generating a world of light and colour. However, despite all this splendour and evident wealth, the majority of people lived in poverty. Visitors will see how dramatic events, such as the Black Death, The Crusades and the Wars of the Roses affected life in Europe and shaped the continent we know today.

The Pillars of Europe includes a total of 262 works, of which 243 are from the collections of the British Museum. The show is completed by 19 pieces from the National Museum of Archaeology, the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Frederic Marès Museum. These additional objects serve as a counterpoint to the exhibition discourse, enriching it by including the perspective of realms in southern Europe.


 ”la Caixa” Foundation
Paseo del Prado, 36
28014. Madrid

Tel: (34) 9133073 00

Albert Oehlen: <EM>Untitled (Idiot Head)</EM> [Ohne Titel (Blödkopf)], 1988. Oil on canvas, 195 x 195 cm.Private collection, courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris. Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris© Albert Oehlen.
Albert Oehlen: Untitled (Idiot Head) [Ohne Titel (Blödkopf)], 1988.
Oil on canvas, 195 x 195 cm.
Private collection, courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris. Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
© Albert Oehlen.
Albert Oehlen: Behind The Image
BILBOA  •  The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao  •  21 October 2016 - 5 February 2017

The contemporary pictorial style of Albert Oehlen (b. 1954, Krefeld, Germany) is an amalgam of methods borrowed from the advertising industry, Expressionist brushwork, Surrealist gesture, and computer-generated images. With his work Oehlen fuels the recurring debate begun in the second half of the 20th century about the death of painting, and he does so precisely by using painting as an expressive medium.

This exhibition, conceived as an artistic statement rather than a conventional retrospective, consists of two self-portraits and three series. The first of the series, abstract in nature, dates from the 1980s; the second comprises computer paintings from the 1990s; and the third, still in progress, revolves around the theme of trees. The show explores “the extent to which we are capable of seeing behind the image”, for although the works are formally different at first glance, these three series have a common core that unites and connects them, generating a network of interrelationships.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Website


Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
Avenida Abandoibarra, 2
48009 Bilbao


Tel: (34) 944 35 90 00

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