Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

Before leaving home I raided the websites of my list of Costume museums of Europe and discovered that this particular one not only was not under renovation but also had a fashion embroidery exhibition on, whilst I was there.
And there was no way I was not going to see it.

Turns out this was one interesting museum Chloe and I missed completely.

The embroidery was restricted to the clothes of the second half of the 18th century, one dress of the pannier’d style associated with Marie Antoinette and lots of gentlemen’s waist coats and jackets each lavishly decorated.

While the embroidery on these pieces were bright and intense in both the colours and composition, the pattern book that was also displayed was even more astonishing. These pieces had been sealed away from the air and the general wear and tear of wearing and washing and so the colours were surprisingly vibrant.

The exhibition itself only filled one room, but the rest of the museum was worth seeing too... that is except some of the Religious Iconography which always gets to be a bit much after the second or third piece. It contained a collection of pieces originally owned by persons of note in Bavaria

A collection of maps and/or dioramas of Munich charting the growth of the city over time.


Famous pieces of Art Nouveau jewellery by famous french designers (*Lalique)

Queen Caroline, wife of Ludwig I
Augusta Amelie, wife of Eugene de Beauharnais

What made this museum extra special is that like the Natural History Museum in London, this one had the building designed and built especially for it, a fact that is evident throughout. Though the walls in many of the rooms have been white washed in order to better showcase the items, for the most part, the ceilings have been designed to complement the items displayed within the room.

This included wood panelling in the ‘Tudor’ aged rooms,

Vaulted ceiling where the religious iconography was housed,

and in a few rooms, ceilings that looked as though they had been transposed into this building from old buildings that were being demolished.

One of the collections of which the museum was proud, it being the biggest in Europe (or something) was their nativity scenes.

As the Christmas markets had already demonstrated, the Germans go all out when it comes to their nativity scenes. Some of it is sweet, even nostalgic as it was a tradition Granddad had kept, each year scrunching his waxed butcher’s paper into the shape of a cavernous mountain, wiring up a dozen houses and campsite fires, and hiding Jesus from us in the dips and folds of the paper. Some of the market stalls here are beautiful, enabling you to add turkeys, ducks and even cats (though not mentioned in the bible) to your crèches.

However even these did not compare with the ones on display in the basement of the museum.

My one question is ‘where is it stored for the other eleven months of the year?’

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