Bode Museum — Mauritius & The Magi

Easter Friday, post-ballet I go to the Bode Museum and see the just-opened exhibition, Ein Gott: Abraham’s Legacy on the Nile. Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Egypt from Antiquity until the Middle Ages. Well-packed. No cameras allowed. Kinda usual for special exhibitions. Thought about buying the catalogue but was a little underwhelmed with the whole thing. At a loose end and frisky from hangover, dancing, and no lunch, decided to drag myself through the permanent collection to see if I could spot Mechthild of Magdeburg, maybe some Saint Mauritius I hadn’t seen before, or some Heiligen Drei Könige.

It occurred to me after, when I was looking through some photos of my first visit to this museum, that some of the items might have been rotated in and out. Though in truth, I wasn’t paying so much attention that first visit, because that was pre-Bologna and the accompanying mediæval art epiphany I had there. So, this time, paying attention. Also not paying attention. I scuffed through pretty quick thinking more about eating, and telling myself I could come back another time anyway.

Curiously not so many works with Saint Mauritius or the black Magi in the Bode Museum. Especially curious seeing how mad crazy the Gemäldegalerie is for all that. Seeing also this museum is the home of the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst and that the heart of all this particular northern art lies not much more than an hour away in Magdeburg, I somehow thought there’d be a little more regional self-promotion, like say at the Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu (linking to that post cos it’s got links to all four of my posts from my visit). Nope. A lot of stuff from a lot of countries, which leads to a lack of focus or depth that it could have if it decided to get very specialised with its hundreds of thousands of artworks. And so many female saints without names, a not insignificant absence.

Anyway, this is just documenting these works, not a joyous romp through the whole place—there were quite a few pieces I’m planning on seeing again which deserve proper photographing and gushing over. One new discovery for me was in the Münzkabinett. All that coinage bores me to incoherence, but I recalled seeing on MedievalPOC some bracteate (that’s a new word for me, stamped coin jewellery) of Saint Mauritius, possibly pilgrim’s badges, and had this hazy thought I might find some here, or maybe some of Mechthild, my current love. Much looking later, no Mechthild, but Hildegard! And several of Mauritius. Well pleased, me, and nice preparation for my impending trip to Magdeburg. Yup, I’ve exhausted Berlin’s mediæval art—unless I can persuade myself into the archives—so it’s off to the great, sandy plain of northern Gemany. And an excuse to go and visit other nearby cities.

In the meantime, photos!