Located in Utrecht, in a former convent dedicated to St. Catherine, Museum Catharijneconvent is the museum for the history and art of Christianity in the Netherlands. Besides paintings and sculptures, manuscripts and old prints, work in precious metals and textiles, the collection also includes everyday religious objects such as prayer beads and Nativity Scenes dating from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The masterpieces of the collection include Maarten de Vos’s painting Moses showing the Ten Commandments (1575), Geertgen tot Sint Jans’s Man of Sorrows (1485-94) and some of the oldest extant manuscripts in the region – dating from the tenth and eleventh centuries. Other important items include the bust of a woman by an anonymous Utrecht sculptor, known merely as “the Master of the Utrecht Stone Woman’s Head” (c. 1520), and the vestments of the Grote Kerk of Hoorn, with embroidery after designs by Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen from the early sixteenth century. One of the earliest masterpieces is the (misnamed) Lebuinus Chalice, long venerated in the Lebuinus Church in Deventer as a relic of Saint Lebuinus. However, it later became clear that the chalice was actually made after the saint’s death, which was around 773.
Stylistically, the ninth-century ivory chalice can be placed in the time of the Emperor Charlemagne, who wanted to model his empire on the Roman Empire.
Finally, the museum has a collection of stories – recollections with perspectives that cannot be presented in the form of material heritage.
Related CODART publications
Micha Leeflang and Annabel Dijkema, “CODARTfocus in Utrecht 2013”, CODARTfeatures, February 2013.