Ecclesiastical art and cultural history in the Diocesan Museum

On 2 October 2022, after nine years of closure and four years of construction, the Freising Diocesan Museum will reopen its doors. The completely renovated building on the Domberg presents itself both externally and internally in a new guise and would like to inspire its visitors once again with exhibitions on art and cultural history in the field of tension between faith, art and society.
The Diocesan Museum's collection comprises over 40,000 objects from all areas of ecclesiastical art and culture. It is one of the largest museums of religious history in the world. The main focus is on late medieval ecclesiastical art from Old Bavaria, Swabia and the Alpine region, as well as art-historically significant works from the South German Baroque and Rococo periods, but also artefacts from the fields of liturgy, popular piety, pilgrimage and monastic culture. Another area of the collection is formed by 2,700 objects of early Christian and Byzantine art and culture, which can be used to illustrate the origins of Christian art and liturgy in a separate exhibition area.

Let yourself be inspired and inspired by masterly works of art

The new display collection presents Christian art from two millennia on almost 2500 square metres of exhibition space: from early Christian works to contemporary positions of the 21st century. In addition to 15th century Bavarian late Gothic artists such as Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack and Gabriel Angler, the great Lucas Cranach and many Baroque and Rococo masters, such as Ignaz Günther, Johann Baptist Straub and the Asam brothers, are also represented.

Contemporary art

Contemporary artists also have their permanent place in the new Diocesan Museum and ensure openness on all sides - such as the US installation artist James Turrell, who has created a light room in the former house chapel: "A CHAPEL FOR LUKE and his scribe Lucius the Cyrene" is a cross-room light installation in the form of a full field. Here, all architectural features - light, colour and space - merge into one, creating the phenomenon of a complete loss of depth perception. Upon entering the work, the boundaries of space and time are thus seemingly dissolved, creating proverbial delimiting experiences. (The permanent installation by James Turrell is open daily Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Due to the high number of visitors, please allow for longer waiting times if necessary).

The Belgian sculptor Berlinde de Bruyckere took a particular interest in the museum's stock of late Gothic sculptures and, under this impression, created the larger-than-life bronze sculpture ARCANGELO for the atrium of the DIMU. The photographer Michael Wesely, known for his long exposures, shows the transformation of the museum in the last nine years in his two works, in which he let the museum team merge into one face shortly after the closure and shortly before the reopening.

During her visit to the Domberg in June 2019, the American artist Kiki Smith decided to design a small sacred space in the museum's outdoor area. The chapel she designed in collaboration with Brückner & Brückner is entitled "Mary's Mantle". It was built on the west terrace of the museum from April 2023 and designed by the artist (more information and photos further down the page).

Insights into the exhibition collection

Kiki Smith: Mary’s Mantle Chapel

"I always think the whole universe is in some kind of love agreement," says Kiki Smith, one of the most important artists of our time. Born in Nuremberg in 1954, she lives and works in New York and upstate New York. Her works have been shown in countless exhibitions in renowned museums around the world and can be found in important public and private collections.
Kiki Smith has long been familiar with the Diözesanmuseum Freising and its historical collections. She has travelled back and forth from New York, where she lives, to work on the project of a chapel, a walk-in sculpture erected next to the museum on the edge of the Domberg: The Chapel of Mary's Mantle. The chapel was designed in collaboration with Brückner & Brückner Architekten. Dedicated to Our Lady of the Mantle, it has become a wonderful place of contemplation, a space of silence and refuge.

Gallery Mary´s Mantle Chapel