Holy Night

The Christmas Story and Its Imagery

The multi-media preparation course

Find out everything worth knowing about “Holy Night. The Christmas Story and Its Imagery”.


12 October 2016 to 29 January 2017

In the autumn and winter of 2016/17, the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung illuminated one of the most well-known stories of Christian culture: the Christmas story. The comprehensive special exhibition “Holy Night. The Christmas Story and Its Imagery” devoted itself to the manifold events and multifaceted legends revolving around “Christmas Eve” with a focus on their depiction in sculpture, painting, printmaking and other media. It presented altogether some 100 precious objects from more than forty collections in many countries, for example the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Paris Louvre or the Vatican Museums.

The temporal emphasis was on the art of the Middle Ages—which were supplemented, however, by selected Early Christian testimonies and a number of Baroque objects in an impressive demonstration of the surprising diversity of pictorial themes related to the Christmas story. In addition to well-known motifs such as the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Magi, many stories and images that have meanwhile all but fallen into oblivion awaited the visitor: episodes such as Joseph’s Doubt and the Circumcision or the miracles on the flight into Egypt. And finally, the Liebieghaus had succeeded in obtaining two large multi-figural—and highly significant—crib ensembles from Naples and Tyrol for presentation in the show.

The aim of this major special exhibition was to provide an experience of the Christmas story in its full thematic scope and contribute to a new understanding of the works’ imagery. The show offered an entertaining, suspenseful, and often surprising look at medieval art—and a story well worth rediscovering.

Curator Dr. Stefan Roller (Head of the Medieval Department, Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung) With support from Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung


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