The experience of an exhibition
Contemplation and action are two categories of experience that have to a considerable extent shaped the history of the arts in Europe from the Middle Ages and the time of the cloisters to the present era of screens.
They are not two distinct branches of art, but rather two dimensions that coexist in most works.
Painting was defined during the Renaissance as the contemplative representation of action.
The exhibition "Acting, Contemplating" links two historic trends: the representation of human actions which, since the watershed of Romanticism in the late 18th century, incorporated sujective interpretation and fantasy; the development, in the 1960s, of new forms that emerged from exchanges with performative arts and also from the time when photography and cinema took over the function of chronicling of human action.
The encyclopaedic collections of the museum excel in two areas in particular, medieval and Renaissance art and Modern art, of which the museum has a large collection. It is also home to one of the masterpieces of world art, the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald (1512-16) as well as the famous tapestry of Picasso's Guernica, of which there are only three in the entire world: the first one being at the United Nations, the second in the Musée Unterliden and the third in Japan.