“The emergence and convergence of medieval state formations in Central Europe from 800 to 1300 AD is a fascinating theme in itself. This process is related to the conflict between paganism and Christianity and the victorious onset of the new, universal faith. Monks and nuns of the St. Benedict Order were important representatives of Christian culture. Their legacy is not only monumental civilization work, but also artistic wealth, which inspired the following centuries,“ said Prof. Vít Vlnas.

Like in St Gallen

The exhibition will be divided in such a way that its structure will evoke an ideal arrangement of a Benedictine monastery that we know from the famous plan preserved at the Abbey of St Gall, Switzerland. The exhibition will take visitors through the monastic church with a choir and a crypt, then a cloister, prelature and the chapter hall. Visitors will also get acquainted with the private and technical parts of the monastery, such as the refectory, dormitory and infirmary. The exhibits will correspond to the function of the given premises.

Remarkable Romanesque art

The exhibition will also focus on the wealth of Romanesque art. A number of exhibits from the early Czech, Polish and Hungarian states will be presented in the context of top-class works of art from the German, Austrian and Swiss regions. The transfer of artistic designs and forms was also mediated through the close ties between Central European Benedictine Monasteries and their parent or sister communities in the western environment.

Vyšehrad Codex

One of the most valuable exhibits will be the Vyšehrad Codex, the most famous illuminated manuscript of the Romanesque time in the area of today’s Czech Republic. This will be the first time in modern times that the National Gallery will display the codex in public. The codex will be located in a special room in Clementinum (Kodex Gigas). There will also be a set of manuscripts linked to the codex, which are thought to have been illuminated in the scriptorium of Břevnov Benedictines at the beginning of the 11th century. Another unique exhibit will be a set of artifacts linked to the first Benedictine convent in Bohemia at St. George in the Prague Castle, which is the oldest convent in Bohemia.

Unique exhibits from abroad

For the first time in Prague, visitors will have the opportunity to see the relic cross of the Hungarian Queen Adelheida, donated around the year 1080 to St. Blasius Monastery in Bavaria, which is at present housed at St Paul’s Abbey, Lavanttal. Two richly embroidered Romanesque chasubles will also be borrowed from the same abbey. A number of precious exhibits will be borrowed from St. Peter’s Abbey, Salzburg. Another important exhibit is the relic cross from Zwiefalten, which, at the exhibition, will be presented in the proximity of a similar cross from the Lobkowicz’s Nelahozeves collections.

For more information, visit http://www.vystava-benediktini.cz/index.php?id=5.