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Point of View #27

Point of View #27

A Masterpiece and its (Almost) Forgotten Collector: The So-Called Benda Madonna and Gustav von Benda's Legacy

The Kunsthistorisches Museum owes a great deal not only to the Habsburgs: especially in the early 20th century, bourgeois collectors repeatedly ensured that the holdings grew. With Ansichtssache #27, the museum would like to commemorate one of the most important of these patrons, namely Gustav von Benda (1846 - 1932). He donated his rich collection of sculptures, paintings and other works to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1932. Initially housed in the Neue Burg, Benda's art treasures were distributed among the various departments of the museum against his will as early as 1939. The fact that Benda had belonged to the Jewish community until 1895 certainly contributed to this decision.

Supplemented by historical photographs and other works, the centerpiece of Viewpoint #27 is a masterful painting of the Virgin Mary that is part of Benda's 1932 legacy. Named after this painting, its creator is known to experts as the "Master of the Benda Madonna." This anonymous artist is certainly one of the most fascinating painters who were active at the end of the 15th century on the Upper Rhine, in the direct environment of Martin Schongauer. After the recent elaborate restoration, his namesake work will be made accessible to the public again for a few months as part of Ansichtssache #27. At the same time, we would like to remember the collector to whom we owe this masterpiece of the late Gothic.

The 27th edition of Ansichtssache can also boast a novelty: for the first time, the series will be accompanied by an open access publication (German and English). This is intended to offer interested audiences worldwide the opportunity to gain free insight into the research results of the house.

With the kind support of

General Partner

23 June 2023
to 16 January 2024

You can find the Open-Access-Publication of our exhibition here.

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