Auvergne, Enthroned Madonna, ca. 1200, Kunsthaus Zürich, Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde, 1948
Master from the circle of the Manesse Manuscript, Descent from the Cross, ca. 1320, Kunsthaus Zürich, The Gottfried Keller Foundation, Federal Office of Culture, Berne, 1954
Fra Angelico and Zanobi Strozzi, Cosmas and Damian Heal the Deacon Justinian, ca. 1435/1440, Kunsthaus Zürich, The Betty and David Koetser Foundation, 1986
Master of the Munich Marian Panels, Birth of Christ, ca. 1445/1450, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1936
Master of the High Altar of Churwalden, Madonna and Child, ca. 1480/1490, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1954
The Younger Bernese Carnation Master, Saint John the Baptist in the Desert, ca. 1500, Kunsthaus Zürich, Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde, 1922


« The mostly religious art of the Middle Ages can still tell us many stories. It bears witness to the earlier possibilities of art to open up other worlds and guide us into new realms of experience. » — Philippe Büttner, Collection Curator
Exhibition view

The Kunsthaus holds a number of Italian paintings dating from the Late Middle Ages between ca. 1300-1500, which clearly illustrate the developments in religious imagery during this period of intellectual transformation. Well into the 14th century, portraits of saints as well as religious scenes with narrative content were painted onto a gold ground. The spiritual dimension is strongly emphasized. By the 15th century, however, a new understanding of Christ’s humanity had become established, and earthly existence was also deemed worthy of depiction. Fra Angelico and Matteo di Giovanni, for example, placed their lives of the saints within a real, three dimensional architecture, linking sacred events with the sphere of everyday life.