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Objects from the Museum Schnütgen sparkle in the Musée de Cluny

Exactly eleven objects on loan - a symbolic Cologne number - from the Museum Schnütgen are currently on display in the exhibition "Voyage dans le cristal" ("Journey into the Crystal") at the Musée de Cluny in Paris.
Until 19 March 2023, the same objects were on display in the "Magic rock crystal" exhibition in Cologne. The show centred on the transparent mineral attracted around 20,000 visitors from Germany and abroad to the Museum Schnütgen during its almost four-month run.

Manifestation of power and beauty
All eleven pieces on loan to Paris are outstanding masterpieces made entirely of or with transparent rock crystal. The time span in which they were created spans around eight centuries: they include a North African (Abbasid) vial from the 9th-10th centuries, a presumably Spanish chess piece from the 10th-11th centuries, a German arm reliquary from the 12th century, a German chess piece from the 10th-11th centuries and a precious Italian bowl from the late 16th century.
Since time immemorial and in all civilisations, people have been fascinated by the transparency of this special mineral. The Paris exhibition brings together artistic masterpieces from prehistory to contemporary art. The pieces that have travelled from Cologne to Paris illustrate above all the importance of rock crystal in medieval art.
"Voyage dans le cristal" is on display until 14 January 2024.

Franco-German friendship
The collaboration between the Musée de Cluny and the Museum Schnütgen was not limited to the mutual exchange of important loans. An interdisciplinary symposium on rock crystal organised by the Museum Schnütgen in 2021 provided an opportunity for intensive scientific exchange. The results were incorporated into the exhibition catalogues in Cologne and Paris. Both museums have been part of the "European Network of Museums of Medieval Art" for years. The close partnership between the two institutions, which is expressed here in the medium of the rock crystal, is a beautiful sign of Franco-German friendship.


Donation of a sculpture showing Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

For the second time this year, our museum has received an important work of art as a donation from private ownership. After the ivory relief "Death of Mary" in January, it is now a group of coloured oak figures of St. Anne Selbdritt. It was made around 1500 in one of the two leading sculpture studios in Cologne at the time.

It depicts the three-generation motif of St. Anne, the mother of Mary the Mother of God, together with Mary and the Christ Child, which was very popular at the time. St. Anne was considered the patron saint of the family. In addition, it was associated with the idea that not only the birth of Jesus through the Virgin Mary, but also the birth of Mary through Anna was "immaculate" from original sin.

For more than a hundred years, the work of art, which is about 70 cm tall, had been in the house chapel of Bodenheim Castle near Euskirchen. At its meeting on 15 June, the Cologne City Council accepted the precious gift from a Rhenish family with thanks. It can now be viewed in the Museum Schnütgen.

The museum already has numerous representations of St. Anne Selbdritt, but so far none from the production of Master Tilman and the master of the memorial foundation of the Viktor von Carben family in Cologne Cathedral, which is so characteristic of Cologne sculpture around 1500.

The gift is also an example of the frequently expressed appreciation of the museum as well as the personal attachment of citizens to this house. The donor is a long-standing member of the Friends of the Museum Schnütgen.


New free audio guide to 100 exciting objects

Everyone can now use their own smartphone and still enjoy the museum experience at home.

Shortly before Easter, information on 100 outstanding objects in the Museum Schnütgen will be easily accessible: simply scan the numbered QR codes in the permanent exhibition with your own smartphone and off you go: short audios invite you to take a closer look and discover them. The explanations provide small impulses that contribute to understanding the medieval works.
Audio explanations are available in German, English as well as in easy language (German version) and are simultaneously faded in as text. You can zoom into the photos to see details in detail.
Those who want to listen to the professionally recorded texts should not forget the headphones for their smartphones.
There is free WiFi!

The project was supported by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung as part of the Corona funding line for freelancers in public museums. The audio production was realised by the LVR Centre for Media and Education for the Museum Schnütgen in cooperation with the Museumsdienst Köln. The Cologne-based editorial office Dank was responsible for the concept, design and programming.


Donation: Unique ivory relief for the Museum Schnütgen

The Museum Schnütgen has received an ivory relief of outstanding quality depicting the death of Mary, made in France in the 14th century, from a private collection in southern Germany. The Cologne City Council accepted the precious donation with thanks at its meeting on 23 March 2023.

The finely and expressively carved relief is a great enrichment for the collection of the Museum Schnütgen. Director Moritz Woelk: "In the age of Gothic cathedrals, France was also an important model for art in Cologne and the Rhineland in terms of ivory work. That's why this piece complements our collection of Cologne and French Gothic ivories particularly well."
The previous owner explains, "I donated the precious relief to the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne because I have grown fond of this house as a safe haven for early arts and crafts since my student days. I know my donation will be well protected there and made accessible for future generations to study and quietly contemplate!"
The depiction shows Mary on her deathbed surrounded by the apostles. Christ appears in the centre, blessing the deceased, and holding on his left arm the personification of her soul as a small nude figure.

Together with this unique ivory, a delightful small mother-of-pearl relief depicting the Adoration of the Magi from around 1500 is also accepted as a gift from the same collection.


The Survey of the Collection for €19,90

The special exhibition "Magic Rock Crystal" is over. All the nicer that you can now concentrate fully on the collection presentation again.

To mark this occasion, we can offer you the selection catalogue "Museum Schnütgen - The Survey of the Collection" for only €19.90 (instead of €59.90 as in bookshops). It is available in German and English editions.

The survey of the collection of the Museum Schnütgen offers a compact, chronological overview of the internationally famous, high-quality and multi-faceted collection of the museum. The volume presents 280 works from the various sections of the collection in an attractive manner and with the latest research findings.

Museum Schnütgen – A Survey of the Collection. Ed. by Moritz Woelk and Manuela Beer, Munich 2018,  472 pages, 443 ill. in colour


Publication "Magic Rock Crystal" available in the shop

Cooler and harder than glass, but softer than a diamond - rock crystal has always been considered an extraordinary material by mankind. Numerous legends entwine around its origin and special powers. As a remedy, for fortune-telling, in the church and at the courtly table, rock crystal has played an important role since antiquity at the latest. This volume brings together breathtaking works of art.

The publication is available in the museum shop for the special price of only 44€ - in German and English. In regular bookshops, the volume costs 55€.

More information about the special exhibition "Magic Rock Crystal":


Free admission for refugees from Ukraine

From 7 April 2022, refugees from Ukraine will have free admission to the Museum Schnütgen.

Українці та українці мають безкоштовний вхід до музеїв міста Кельна з "KölnTag" 07.04.22 за пред'явленням українського документа, що посвідчує особу. 

All in all, the museums of the City of Cologne want to contribute to making people who had to flee Ukraine feel welcome in Cologne.

Currently, not only Cologne children and young people, but also all those who have a so-called Cologne Pass have free admission. This includes, for example, people who have a low income, receive social assistance or benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act. This regulation is now being extended to Ukrainian visitors in the spirit of cultural participation.

"Our museums stand for artistic and cultural freedom and should be open to all people in our city. Perhaps they can also be a place of protection for people fleeing war," says Stefan Charles, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Cologne.


Cultural Event of the Year Award

On 30 August 2021, the eleventh Cologne Culture Prize was awarded to the exhibition "Arnt the Sculptur of Images" (25 June - 20 September 2020) was awarded the prize. The special exhibition of the Museum Schnütgen prevailed in the category "Cultural Event of the Year 2020". The Kölner Kulturrat, an interdisciplinary association of local cultural institutions and sponsoring associations, determined the result through a reader survey in the Kölner-Stadtanzeiger and the Kölnische Rundschau in conjunction with the jury's vote.
The first monographic exhibition on the founder of a rich school of carving in the Lower Rhine region took visitors back to the late Middle Ages. About 60 works by the artist, who was active between about 1460 and 1491, were on display.


Follow us on Instagram!

The Museum Schnütgen is also on Instagram.
Try out being a sculpture photographer with your own smartphone during your visit to the museum. Our permanent exhibition offers numerous fascinating motifs. Share these images on Instagram and contribute to a second, interactive exhibition.