This exhibition project sets out to explore the place of Cathedrals in the artistic imagination and in the national debate, from Goethe and Victor Hugo to World War 1, against the historical background of Franco-German relations. It unites two cities, Rouen and Cologne, each boasting a world-famous cathedral, and two museums, the musée des Beaux-Arts and the Wallraf-Richartz museum, considered to be amongst the most remarkable in Europe, both for their collections and exhibition programmes. The exhibition presents around 250 works, paintings, objets d’art, photographs and scale-models, covering a century of Franco-German artistic adventures, and is accompanied by an international conference. A second leg is planned for the Wallraf-Richartz museum in Cologne, where the exhibition will open from 26 September 2014 to 18 January 2015.
After several centuries of oblivion, the Gothic cathedral, the quintessential example of mediaeval monumental architecture, enjoyed an unexpected revival in the 19th century, becoming a symbol of national identity for the Monarchy as well as for the Empire or for the Republic. An unchanging reference to the past, it served as a screen onto which not only the religious and the faithful, but also their adversaries, could project their ideas. To this day, the restoration of countless French cathedrals and the completion of Cologne cathedral in the 19th century stand as visible signs of the spirit of the age.
The exhibition features some 180 works by 60 artists including Goethe, Friedrich, Hugo, Constable, Turner, Corot, Sisley, Pissarro, Monet, Rodin, Redon, Moreau, Marquet, Delaunay, Kupka, Beckmann, Feininger, Chagall, De Staël, Morellet, Delvoye among others.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen Website