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Past Exhibitions
[Special Exhibition]
Sacred and Secular: Israhel van Meckenem & Early German Engraving

[Special Exhibition]
Sacred and Secular: Israhel van Meckenem & Early German Engraving

Saturday 9 July 2016 - Monday 19 September 2016
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
Every Friday 9:30 am - 8:30 pm in August
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Mondays except 18 July, 15 August and 19 September. Closed on19 July
Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art, Munich State Collection of Graphic Art, The Tokyo Shimbun
With the cooperation of
The Western Art Foundation
Admission Fees
Adults 1,000 yen, College students 750 yen, High school students 500 yen
Discount fees for groups of 20 or more
Adults 800 yen, College students 600yen, High school students 300 yen
Online Tickets Launching date: Saturday, 0:00 am 9th Jluy, 2016
Junior high school and younger children admitted free of charge. Please show your ID upon entrance to confirm your age.
Disabled visitors admitted free of charge with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
Number of visitors

Israhel van Meckenem (c. 1445–1503) was a German copperplate printmaker active in the lower reaches of the Rhine River from the latter half of the 15th century through the beginning of the 16th century. While he produced numerous copies of the works of such popular artists of the day as Martin Shongauer and Albrecht Dürer, he also began to experiment with new techniques earlier than others in the field. He used various strategies to market his works, and even today more than 500 to 600 works are known from what must have been a massive lifetime oeuvre.

The majority of van Meckenem’s works are on Christian themes, thus alluding to the importance of faith in people’s lives. Such works as The Mass of St. Gregory, which states that those who pray in front of a holy image are spared 2,000 years of atoning for their sins in purgatory, include elements of the “secular” in the religious life of the day. German printmakers of the day took up non-Christian themes, something that was still rare in paintings. Van Meckenem also included elements of humor and satire in his works, such as the tactics found in the battle of the sexes and reversals of the human/animal power dynamic.

This exhibition features more than 100 works, ranging from prints to paintings and decorative arts, thanks in part to the cooperation of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München and the British Museum. The exhibition will allow visitors to not only examine the prints made by van Meckenem during the transition from the Medieval period to the Renaissance, a time when the sacred and the profane mingled, it will also allow a consideration of the development and reception of early period copperplate engravings, their relationship with decorative arts, the question of copy and original, and how the society of the day was reflected in artworks.

Lectures and Slide Talks will be also held at a museum. Please visit each page for detail.

Exhibition Checklist (PDF file, about 379KB)PDF