Tuesday, 9 December 2008

France: Colmar

What a contrast between Colmar and Clermont-Ferrand, our previous stay! Colmar is clean, pedestrian-friendly and full of charm. You could use it to model sets for a traditional production of Die Meistersinger.

The main purpose of our visit was to see the Isenheim Altarpiece. Could it be worth it, we thought as we walked across the town, seeking out a museum which could have been closed according to one interpretation of our leaflet? Well, yes it surely was. The retable is the main work to be found in the former chapel of the convent which is now the Unterlinden Museum. Before reaching it, you pass through cloisters and a warren of smaller galleries, full of fine things, none of which however prepare you for the impact of this extraordinary polyptych.

Though we have all seen the subject-matter in very many forms before, this so-expressive crucifixion will remain with me.

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