Fodor's Expert Review Musée d'Unterlinden

Colmar Fodor's Choice

The cultural highlight of Colmar is the Musée d'Unterlinden; once a Dominican convent and a hotbed of Rhenish mysticism, the building's star attraction is one of the greatest altarpieces of the 16th century, the Retable d'Issenheim (1512–16), by Matthias Grünewald, which is displayed in the convent's Gothic chapel. Originally painted for the convent at Issenheim, 22 km (14 miles) south of Colmar, the multipanel work is either the last gasp of medievalism or a breathtaking preview of modernism and all its neuroses. Replete with raw realism (note the chamber pots, boil-covered bellies, and dirty linen), Grünewald's altarpiece was believed to have miraculous healing powers over ergotism. Widespread in the Middle Ages, this malady was caused by ingesting fungus-ridden grains, and its victims—many of whom were being nursed at the Issenheim convent—experienced delusional, nearly hallucinogenic fantasies.

Arms and armor are among the treasures in the enchanting 13th-century... READ MORE

The cultural highlight of Colmar is the Musée d'Unterlinden; once a Dominican convent and a hotbed of Rhenish mysticism, the building's star attraction is one of the greatest altarpieces of the 16th century, the Retable d'Issenheim (1512–16), by Matthias Grünewald, which is displayed in the convent's Gothic chapel. Originally painted for the convent at Issenheim, 22 km (14 miles) south of Colmar, the multipanel work is either the last gasp of medievalism or a breathtaking preview of modernism and all its neuroses. Replete with raw realism (note the chamber pots, boil-covered bellies, and dirty linen), Grünewald's altarpiece was believed to have miraculous healing powers over ergotism. Widespread in the Middle Ages, this malady was caused by ingesting fungus-ridden grains, and its victims—many of whom were being nursed at the Issenheim convent—experienced delusional, nearly hallucinogenic fantasies.

Arms and armor are among the treasures in the enchanting 13th-century cloiste. Upstairs are fine regional furnishings and a collection of Rhine Valley paintings from the Renaissance, among them Martin Schongauer's opulent 1470 altarpiece painted for Jean d'Orlier. A copper-roofed wing has three floors dedicated to modern and contemporary art (including the Guernica tapestry by Jacqueline de La Baume-Dürbach), as well as temporary exhibition space.

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Fodor's Choice Art Museum

Quick Facts

1 rue Unterlinden
Colmar, Grand-Est  68000, France

03–89–20–15–50

www.musee-unterlinden.com

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: €13, Closed Tues.

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