Masters Gallery @ Kunsthaus, Zurich

The Collection

Opened in 1910, the Kunsthaus Zürich is both museum and art gallery, and the perfect backdrop for its important collection of paintings and sculptures. Its extensive holdings of drawings and prints, photography and video art are exhibited in changing presentations. I was fortunate to spend a day late last year in its hallowed precincts and came away both awed and inspired!

The Kunsthaus Collection is constantly growing, particularly with the purchase of new art – so we are told at the reception that visitors can always expect to be surprised by new contemporary acquisitions. Smaller, temporary hangings with a thematic focus complement the collection presentation, creating space for encounters between works from different eras. When I was there, there were spotlights on Paul Gauguin, Chagall, The Hubert Looser Collection, Edvard Munch, etc and a day was just not enough!

Audio guides provided me with in-depth information on over 200 works  and also on the Kunsthaus architecture (another area of personal interest, but maybe another post, another time on that).

This is what you see on your right when you enter The Kunsthaus Zürich:

Auguste Rodin – The Gates of Hell – 1880 to 1917


Old Masters Gallery

Among the many themes, periods and galleries (another time, another post maybe?), particularly impressive was its ‘Old Masters’ Gallery. Medieval sculptures and the late Gothic panels of the Master of the Carnation open the collection. 17th century Netherlandish painting is comprehensively represented with outstanding works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Ruisdael. A small but significant group of paintings by Claude Lorrain, Domenichino and others evokes the concurrent artistic activities in Rome; the Venetian settecento is represented with works by equally fine artists, from Tiepolo to Guardi. More unusual are the paintings by Post Reformation artists in Zürich – from the portraitist Hans Aspers to John Henry Fuseli, eccentric genius and leading light of European Classicism.

Here is a sample collection, in the order that I viewed them and spent much time on, amazed at the versatility and the genius of the artists showcased.

Bartolomeo Montagna: Cross-Bearing Christ – 1515



Francesco Fiorentino: Mary with Jesus – 1460

Francesco Fracanzano: The Madonna and Peter – 1637



Sebastiano Ricci: Nessus abducts Deianeira – 1700

Mathias Stom: Christ and the samaritan woman – 1630


Mattia Preti: Christ and the adulteress – 1635


Orpheus and Eurydice from Pluto and Proserpina in the under far – 1635



Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini: Venus and satyr – 1720

Giovanni Antonio Canaletto: Receiving an ambassador before the Doge’s Palace – 1730


Niklaus Manuel: Key handover to Peter


Workshop of the ‘High Country Altars’ : Carrying Cross and Crucifixion – 1490



Hans Leu the Younger: John the Baptist and Mary with Infant Jesus – 1521

The Four Panels of Michael-Altars painted in 1490 – 1495 are depicted below:

‘Worship of the Christ by the Three Wise Men’ and ‘The Outpouring of the Spirit’



‘Transcending Lucifer’ and ‘The Last Judgement’

Another ‘Master’, Another Time – A plethora of Paintings Galore . . .



Continuing on the same theme, we encounter Berner the Younger with his ‘The Presentation of Christ’ circa 1495 depicted below:



Saint Onophrius by Master Darmsatdter circa 1460

Three great Paintings by Munich Master Marientafein follow:


The Annunciation / Birth of Christ – 1445

Christ on the Mount of Olives  – Entombment of Christ – 1445




And the beautifully framed painting by Joos van Cleve of Mary with Christ circa 1515 depicted as above.

Hans Memling: Saint Jerome – Late 14th Century


Master Morrison: Presentation of Christ before Pilate – 1510



Joos van Cleve: Lucretia – 1515

Adriaen Isenbrandt: The escape to Egypt – 1525


As I sign off this post with a theme perhaps appropriate for the festive Season of Christmas and New Year, here is a New year Resolution that I will blog more often in 2014 than I have in 2013!

Here’s wishing all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014 – the office chose one of my photographs as part of the Heritage Series for their New Year card.

Greeting Final- Print


My experiments with photographing Art, Architecture, Design and Sculpture – Part One

And so I start this second blog post where the first one ended – over a period of time, my love for travel has taken me to many, many places in my vast country and several parts of the world. But I found one recurring theme as I sifted the photos at the end of every shoot – and that theme has led me to caption this blog post. I do not know how may parts this series will contain – kindly bear with me, but let me start with the first. And since I started with Germany let me continue with Europe before we look at other countries and their artistic cultures.

If you are wondering why would anyone want to go to Italy today, then perhaps you can find some inspiration here. I know, I know, everything that is of even of middling repute has been photographed enough and more and there is perhaps nothing to add (as a fellow blogger commented recently about Venice and then went on to write a brilliant piece about its people and their masks et al) to the deluge of words and pictures.

Here we go with the first church facade at the famous St. Mark’s Basilica at Venice:


The cupola as seen at the transept crossing


And the church as seen from the Piazza San Marco:


Intricate details and paintings are the order of the day




Do you need a stairway to heaven?


Ok, so you didn’t like Venice that much, let us see what Florence has to offer.

We are at the facade of the Main Church of Florence, the Basilica of  Saint Mary of the Flower.


And now at the main portal of the cathedral


Sights like these greet us at every turn:




We round off again at the Facade of the Cathedral including this sculpture of Christ and Disciple.


We leave Florence as we take this final view of The Duomo from the heights of the Piazzale Michelangelo.


Perhaps the only thing left is to have some pizza at the Piazza at Pisa and this is the sight that greets us:



The heart and soul are captured in these medieval structures (above and below) of grey marble and white stone.


The Baptistery dedicated to St.John rounds up the Piazza del Duomo.


While The Vatican and other attractions await another day and another blog post!

My tribute to the Cologne Cathedral, Germany

I learnt photography from my late father – or rather my father was the one who inspired me to dabble in it as a hobby. My earliest recollections during childhood are the scintillating black-and-white photographs he used to take of the temples in South India with his German Camera- yes those were the days of film! And we used to tag along with him and travel to the different temple towns – perhaps one more reason for my wander-lust to this day! It also seems to have seeped into my subconscious to create this fascination with design, especially design of buildings and Architecture. And he was a die-hard German fan – he worked for a German Company (Heidelberg), he swore by his German camera and he loved all things German – the cities, the churches, et al.

And hence my first blog post is sort of a memorial tribute to him as well – no it is not about temples, but yes if a church is a temple (which I think it is) then it is about temples. Needless to mention it is about photography and about Art and Architecture. And yes it has a German connection as well!

My first trip to Germany left me spell bound. The highlight for me was the time I spent no not in Heidelberg but at Cologne. And the Cologne Cathedral with its amazing stained glass paintings captivated and inspired me to such an extent that I realized what my father must have gone through when he was photographing all those temples in South India – it was an inner spiritual experience that I find indescribable.

And hence here is my first blog post – a tribute to the long gone (and perhaps forgotten) artists of the Cologne Cathedral for their artistic skills, architecture, vision and design to build an edifice of such unparalleled beauty in perhaps the whole of Germany. And a note of thanks to my father for: inspiring me travel, my love of photography and instilling in me an appreciation of the beauty of art and design.

We start at the Grand Facade of the Cathedral:


And on to the World Class Stained Glass Paintings:


The Birth of Christ: Madonna and the Child

A detail of one of the mosaics:


A second Stained Glass painting depicts this epic scene:


And a third In the Here-After:


Christ and his disciples as depicted below:


And three complete panels to get the grand picture:




And those who nurtured the Cathedral over centuries haven’t been forgotten either!