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1 March to 22 May 2017
‚Last Supper Altar’ (Church St Severin)
During the ongoing restoration of the Cologne parish church St. Severin (2015 – 2017), Kolumba has been offered the occasion to restore a number of outstanding, high-quality pieces of church interior and to examine them more closely for scientific purpose. Whilst a year ago, the picture cycle depicting scenes of Saint Severin’s life had been both focus of attention and key piece to the 2016 exhibition, it is now the impressively huge ‚Last Supper Altar’ (dating back to the mid-sixteenth century) which comes to the fore. Over a period of 18 months, the altar has been meticulously restored in the museum’s workshop by Andreas Hoppmann and his team. The triptych was created by Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder (1493 – 1555), probably Cologne’s most renowned artist at the threshold of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. In the middle panel, Bruyn displays –on a densely packed stage– the scene of the Last Supper of Christ with Jesus surrounded by his disciples. The side wings present the corresponding model scenes of the Old Testament: the gathering of heavenly Manna by the Israelites (Ex 16, 13 –18) and Abraham meeting Melchizedek (Gen 14, 18 – 20). In each of the outside panels three saints are pictured entering the scene at a rather brisk pace, namely Constantine the Great, Catherine of Alexandria, St. George, St. Elizabeth of Thuringia , Bishop Nicasius, and Saint Gudula. All are patron saints of the Hackeney family as well as of Konstantin of Lyskirchen and his wife Elisabeth Hackeney of Cologne who donated the altar and had it erected in 1548. The altarpiece is now displayed with its wings open and will be retransitioned to the Church of St. Severin on 23 May.
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