Underlinden Museum Colmar, France – Museum Review
The Underlinden Museum (Musée Underlinden) is an art Museum located in Colmar, France. The museum is housed in a 13th century Dominican Convent, an old public bath, and a modern expansion by Swiss Architects Herzog & de Mueron (with an underground connection). So the buildings are interesting as well as the pieces. You’ve got the old gothic convent, baroque public bath, and the very modern addition. These building’s contrast and complement each other, and I personally like how they convey the architectural styles of their time. The facility includes a nice gift shop and a café that overlooks an apple orchard.
We had a little trouble finding the entrances as signage on the exterior is minimal and nothing looked like the “front”. It’s located on the north side of the convent’s cloister adjacent to the stepped canal. You will need to go through security, and large bags are not allowed. They didn’t have lockers when we were there either. However, we were allowed our small day bag (backpack about the size of a medium purse). Families were allowed baby strollers. Admission is about 13 euros for adults on the date of this article. It’s always wise to check with the website for opening hours, security requirements, and admission prices before you go, as things change.
Here’s a link to the official website to get the latest updates: http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/en/home/
The main item is the Isenheim Altarpiece; a masterpiece by Niclaus of Haguenau and Mattthais Grünewald. This piece is located in the old chapel of the convent. Its closed panels depict the crucifixion in the middle, with arrow pierced Saint Sebastian on the left, and Saint Anthony on the right, with a menacing monster figure over his shoulder. The crucifixion is a horrific image of Christ’s suffering. His body limp, with red blood dripping down pale greenish skin, covered in sores. It was painted for the Monastery of St. Anthony in Isenheim, which included a hospital. Surely this was meant to provide the sick an understanding of his suffering. It also contains John the Baptist, whom I believe was beheaded long before the events on Calvary. And that’s just the outside front view. This piece is big, and its size can really be examined from the balcony overlooking the chapel.
The museum has a lot to offer. There are cubist and modern pieces by Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Georges Rouault to name a few. They even have a few renaissance masters represented as well, with engravings by Albrecht Dürer and paintings of Hans Holbein the Elder. The facility also contains some decorative arts, and archaeology to view as well. There is quite a bit of variety for one museum, so it should please everyone’s taste. We especially enjoyed the modern art and the archeology.
We spent most of a day here, as the museum has a very pleasant atmosphere. It was only crowded in the chapel with the altarpiece and adjoining galleries. We had the modern galleries to ourselves. The café was also nice and very convenient. We thought the food was great. The interior is well designed, clean, and the meal was well presented.
We loved the Underlinden, if you are planning a trip to the Alsace, you should include a visit in your plans. Go Artway Today!
Underlinden Visit October 2017
For more information about Colmar, France see our trip report – “Memories of Switzerland, Germany, and France October 2017 – Trip Report”.