While the Kunstmuseum Basel’s main building is closed, the public will still be able to admire the most important Old Master paintings from the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, thanks to a fruitful cooperation with the Museum der Kulturen Basel. From April 11, 2015, until February 28, 2016, a high-profile selection of these works will be on view in the exhibition Holbein. Cranach. Grünewald—Masterpieces from the Kunstmuseum Basel in the Museum der Kulturen Basel’s two-level gallery, which will also present fascinating glimpses of the host institution’s collections.
If the Kunstmuseum Basel enjoys global renown today, that is essentially due to its collection of works by Hans Holbein the Younger, the world’s largest in a single museum. It was in Basel that Holbein’s genius achieved full realization. The treasure of pictures he left behind also inspired the city’s residents who successively enlarged the collection with masterpieces of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The selection of the finest and most valuable Old Master paintings contains works by Konrad Witz, Hans Holbein the Younger as well as his likewise famous father Hans the Elder, Matthias Grünewald, Hans Baldung Grien and Lucas Cranach The prominent part Swiss artists played in the spread of the Renaissance is illustrated by works of the Berne artist Niklaus Manuel (Deutsch) and the Schaffhausen-born Tobias Stimmer.
The focused installation in the two-storey exhibition hall at the Museum der Kulturen Basel not only lends new intensity to the colloquy among the paintings. It also opens up a synoptic perspective across different cultures and genres by initiating a dialogue with the hosting institution’s own treasures. Only a small minority of these products of diverse cultures from a wide array of far-flung places are paintings on wood or canvas; most are artifacts of a very different kind.