Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669), The Blinding of Samson, 1636, oil on canvas, 206 x 276 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Städel Museum


Until the 26th of June – Städel Museum

The holdings of the Städel Museum comprise masterpieces of European art from the late Middle Ages to the present. The temporary closure of its galleries in the course of the redevelopment measures carried out in the old building as part of the Städel’s extension and of making the new building accessible via the old building offers the unique opportunity to show the museum’s familiar treasures in an entirely new context. The temporary presentation of the Städel’s collection under the title “In Chronological Order. Städel Works of the 14th to 21st Centuries” in the Exhibition Building abandons the usual separation according to regions and replaces it by a strictly chronological cross-country hanging. This approach provides a condensed art-historical timeline which grants a new, unusual and often surprising view of both familiar and still to be discovered masterpieces of the Städel and ensures that parts of its collection can also be seen during the redevelopment work. Accompanied by a chain of references to political, social, cultural and scientific key events, the presentation not only offers unconventional adjacencies, but also illustrates the development of Western painting in a unique manner.

300 paintings: from Jan van Eyck to Gerhard Richter
The exhibition encompassing twelve rooms comprises 300 paintings from the Städel’s holdings. The range of masterpieces spans from Jan van Eyck and Andrea Mantegna, Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, and Gerhard Richter. The monthly changing comprehensive program accompanying the exhibition reflects the works chosen under various thematic focal points such as technical innovations, natural sciences, history of the theater, and history of literature. The program also includes the new series “Guest Commentaries” with people from the fields of politics, business, and science who will explain their personal views of prominent works in the Städel.

Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Study for the nurse in the film 'Battleship Potemkin' by Eisenstein, 1957, oil on canvas, 198 x 142 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Städel Museum, © The Estate of Francis Bacon / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010.


In Chronological Order

The building of large museums and the emergence of academic art history in the nineteenth century consolidated the separation of collections of paintings after regional schools. The art from the Middle Ages to the Baroque Age was categorized as Southern or Northern with the Alps providing the dividing line; in addition, artists were grouped after national schools (Italian, French, German, or English) and soon also after movements such as Symbolism, Impressionism, or Expressionism. “In Chronological Order” discards this familiar division and presents paintings from the Städel Museum from 1300 to the present in the chronological order of their making. This dense historical tour offers visitors a time travel through seven centuries of European art history, with the pictures arranged along a timeline of decisive historical events. To be found on a continuing band mounted above the paintings, the subjectively chosen political, cultural and scientific events make it possible to situate the works in their historical context and provide room for numerous associations.

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