The Rimini Mission. Material History Conservation. The Rimini Altarpiece
3 November 2021 - 25 September 2022

Liebieghaus, Skulpturen Sammlung, Frankfurt (DE)

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). As of 3 November 2021, following extensive restoration, it will once again be on view in the museum’s outstanding permanent exhibition. Over the past four years, a wide range of conservation and restoration 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 will provide 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 restoration project will be made impressively visible to the public. In four sections, the Liebieghaus scholars Harald Theiss (Head of Restoration) and Stefan Roller (Head of the Medieval Collection) explain the characteristic properties of the material alabaster, as well as the individual steps of the art-technological analysis. In addition, they illustrate the challenges of restoring this highly sensitive material and address questions of sculpture technique, as well as the original coloration 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 is supported by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain gGmbH. The preparatory restoration work and the publication were made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung. ‘MISSION RIMINI’ received additional support from the Städelscher Museums-Verein. A publication will be published by Deutscher Kunstverlag to accompany the exhibition, summarising 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)

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