CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Mo(nu)ments: On the Short Life Span of Ceremonial Architecture

Exhibition: 15 May - 20 October 2024

In early modern European culture, celebrations were opulent, performed as a matter of course. At the same time, every epoch developed its own unique type of public celebration, be it sacred or profane, courtly or urban. An essential part of the lavishly staged coronations, anniversaries, victory celebrations, or state visits, of weddings or birthdays, were the ephemeral, that is to say, short-lived, ceremonial structures. Designed and built specifically for a particular occasion, the platforms and stages transformed the familiar public space, filled spectators with amazement, and let them forget about their daily worries.

Joannes Meursius (1579-1639) for Theodoor van Thulden (1606-1669), Temporary Festival Decorations, 1641, Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen.

Yet the architecture, often created by well-known artists, was only of short duration—exactly like the moment of celebration. That is why since the fifteenth century descriptions of festivals, which record these fleeting moments in words and pictures, have been an integral component of public celebrations. At the same time, these usually abundantly illustrated documentations, in book form, are as varied as the events themselves. Thanks to these festival books, the cabinet exhibition in the study room revives the former monuments back to life.

View of the exhibition (photo: Draiflessen / Henning Rogge)

The exhibition includes works by the following artists: Albrecht Altdorfer, Leonhard Beck, Govert Bidloo, Johann Bringer, Hans Burgkmair the Elder, Jan Cossiers, Albrecht Dürer, Jean Gaspard Gevaerts, Diederich Graminaeus, Romeyn de Hooghe, Wolf Huber, Jacob Jordaens, Arnoud Leers, Lucas van Leyden, Caspar Merian, Joannes Meursius, Hans van Mildert, Willibald Pirckheimer, Peter Paul Rubens, Hans Schäufelein, Matthias André Schmidt, Cornelis Schut, Hans Springinklee, Marx Treitzsaurwein and Theodoor van Thulden.