The Middle Ages

The medieval collection in its extent and quality represents one of the LWL-Museum’s major points of focus, comprising a widely varying survey of all the Middle Ages’ artistic genres: panel painting and stained glass, sculptures and reliefs made of wood, stone, precious metal and ivory, liturgical objects as well as garments.

The origins of the collection are closely linked to the history of the institution. From the middle of the 19th century onwards the Westfälischer Kunstverein (Westphalian art society) and the Verein für Geschichte und Altertumskunde Westfalens (the society of Westphalian history and antiquity studies) acquired numerous works from churches and cloisters in the region that had been abandoned in the wake of secularisation. These treasures were transferred, partly as gifts and partly as loans, to the new Provinzialmuseum in Münster in 1908. This established the foundations of the collection, which in the following years was steadily supplemented and extended. Permanent loans of great value from the Münster diocese (Bischöfliches Diözesanmuseum) have substantially enriched the collection. Such highlights as the “Soest Antependium”, the oldest panel painting north of the alps; the elegant figures of Saint Odilia and Dorothea from the hand of the renowned Dortmund painter Conrad von Soest; the “Lucas Madonna” by Derick Baegert from Wesel, demanding pious contemplation; the poignant “Unna Pietà” and the vivid passions and saints by the Münster sculptors Heinrich und Johann Brabender are exemplary of the quality of the collection. This also includes the world famous Romanesque stained glass windows by Meister Gerlachus from Arnstein/Lahn, which were rescued from destruction by the founding patron of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, Baron vom Stein, together with other outstanding works of medieval treasury art.