This section contains an overview of the most relevant exhibitions. Each item is connected to the organizing museum.

The Dead Sea Scrolls


Fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Photo: Wikipedia

A major exhibition on the famous Dead Sea Scrolls will be organised in Assen in 2013. The exhibition will show original Biblical manuscripts and objects from the 3rd century BC till the 1st century AD as well as alternative manuscripts not included in the Bible. The texts on these world-renowned scrolls offer invaluable information on both history and culture from a period in which important characteristics of both Judaism and Christianity were formed. In addition, objects from ancient Judea are shown, from the settlement of Qumran (where the scrolls were found) and from Jerusalem. Together with the grave of Tutankhamen in Egypt and the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries from the 20th century.

The world of Dionysus.


Caravaggio (c. 1571 – 1610), Dionysus., 1995, Uffizi, Florence. Photo: Wikipedia.

Dionysus remains the most fascinating of all the Greek and Roman gods. His allure is based on the mystery and wildness found in the Dionysian ritual as well as the way it liberates from social constraints. Since classical times, the god of joy, intoxication and fertility has been depicted in victory processions with his ecstatic retinue of dancing satyrs and maenads. Worshiped in religious mystery cults by the Greeks and the Romans, who knew him as Bacchus, Dionysus symbolized the triumph of life in Renaissance art. For Baroque painters, he represented the joy of life; he embodied a natural sensuousness and he and his bride Ariadne are among the most frequently depicted lovers in paintings. In works from classical antiquity to the 20th century, the exhibition draws attention to the lively, boisterous world of Dionysus. No other subject demonstrates so clearly how the modern era was influenced by and made use of the imagery found in the ancient world.

The Abstract Masters


Piet Mondriaan (1872– 1944), Tableau 3, 1923 © Photo: Kunstmuseum Basel

The exhibition presents the work of three eminently important modern artists of three different generations: Piet Mondrian (Amersfoort/Netherlands 1872 – 1944 New York), Barnett Newman (New York 1905 – 1970 New York), and Dan Flavin (New York 1933 – 1996 Riverhead, N.Y.). All three dedicated themselves to abstract art, but each did so under very different spiritual and cultural premises. Nevertheless, they all relied on an ascetic pictorial language of color and form as they sought to give art universal significance. The exhibition consists of three distinctive and meaningful presentations, which, though arranged chrono logically, establish insightful interconnections and come together to form a unified whole. These works from the Basel collection form the exhibition’s backbone and will be complemented with carefully chosen significant loans from important public and private collections.

Charlemagne in Switzerland


Workshop of Albrecht Dürer, 1514, portrait of Charlemagne. Photo: Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin

Who was Charlemagne and what imprint did the great Carolingian king leave on the 8th and 9th centuries? 2014 marks the 1200th anniversary of Charlemagne’s death (*748 – †814), the first European emperor of the Middle Ages. For this occasion the Swiss National Museum is putting on an exhibition that focuses on the era of Charlemagne and his cultural- historical achievements. Numerous splendid exhibits on loan from Switzerland and abroad introduce the viewers to the innovations in art, architecture, education and religion stimulated by Charlemagne. The emphasis of the show is on the Carolingian legacy in Switzerland. Separate theme galleries dealing with Charlemagne as a person, his court, the empire he founded and the monasteries, churches and palace complexes he built, offer a panorama view of the age from around 740 to 900. An epilogue sheds light on the cult and legends around Charlemagne that developed after his death.

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