|A 17th century interpretation by Antwerp painter David Teniers|
This means there is stuff from the Low Countries down to France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and the objects range from religious objects to bourgeois furniture. I stood amazed watching a piece of beautifully crafted ivory from the 10th century, which had been carved in the back of an Byzantine original from a century earlier.
|The Dulle Griet|
But there's another bit that I found interesting, which were a couple of paintings showing the temptation of Anthony the Abbot, one of the founders of the Christian monasterial tradition. It was a theme I hadn't noticed before, but which happens to have been popular in the Middle Ages, but also inspired Dali.
|Bruegel's take on the temptations of Anthony the Abbot|
The reason why I was so interested is because it shows contemporary views on what monsters and demons would look like and I am fascinated. The monsters are all a bit comical, rather than scary. There´s a brilliant site on Anthony with lots of illustrations of paintings over the ages. Below I post one from 1490 that I actually like best, because it is so different from contemporary paintings. The colours are so bold and the monsters so stylised! It made me think of Indian art.
|Giovanni Pietro da Birago, ca 1490. Incredible|