The Rimini Altarpiece
It is one of the world’s most important late medieval works of art made of alabaster and a major work in the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung: the Rimini Altarpiece (c. 1430). Following extensive conservation, it is once again on view in the museum’s outstanding permanent exhibition. Over the past years, a wide range of conservation measures have been carried out on the Rimini Altarpiece, primarily a particularly gentle surface cleaning using laser technology as well as gypsum-saturated agar gel compresses. In addition, a comprehensive art-technological examination of the work was carried out. Not only were fundamental insights into the technical construction of the altar gained, but further scientific research by the BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières) in Orléans also revealed the region where the alabaster stone was quarried—results that have provided new impetus for art historical research into the oeuvre of the Master of the Rimini Altarpiece. In a concentrated special exhibition, the results of this international conservation project were made impressively visible to the public. In four sections, the Liebieghaus conservators, Harald Theiss and Miguel González de Quevedo Ibáñez, and Stefan Roller (Head of the Medieval Collection) explained the characteristic properties of the material alabaster, as well as the individual steps of the art-technological analysis. In addition, they illustrated the challenges of conserving this highly sensitive material and addressed questions of sculpture technique, as well as the original colouration of the artwork. The highlight of the special exhibition is the presentation of the masterpiece in a custom-made 4.0 × 3.5-metre display, the form of which is based on contemporary Dutch altars.
The exhibition ‘THE RIMINI MISSION’ was supported by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain gGmbH, and received additional support from the Städelscher Museums-Verein. The preparatory conservation work and the publication were made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung. A publication has been published by Deutscher Kunstverlag to accompany the exhibition, summarizing the results of several years of research supplemented by art historical contributions. It is the first monograph on the Crucifixion Altar from Rimini.
Curators: Dipl.-Rest. Harald Theiss (Head of Conservation, Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung) and Dr. Stefan Roller (Head of the Medieval Department, Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung)