How do you help a martyr

Heroes, martyrs, saints. Paths to paradise

11.04.2019 – 04.10.2020

Everyday hero, action hero, superhero: inflationary, our society usually produces very short-lived new heroes in all areas of life. Heroes have served as role models and role models since time immemorial.

Hero's journey

For the narration of great heroic deeds, a basic pattern has emerged which, from ancient texts to Hollywood films, is based on a uniform dramaturgy, the so-called "hero's journey": The hero or heroine follows a calling, has to pass tests in order to use the to banish a danger in one's own life and to rebalance a state that has gotten out of balance.
The fascination of hero stories continues to this day. A hero can be a historical or a fictional person. Their courage, their persistence, their behavior in the face of dangers make them a role model for their own life, their own “little hero's journey”. In the Middle Ages, this role was played primarily by Christ and the martyrs and saints who followed his ideal. Her life stories contain many narrative motifs of a heroic story - from the appointment to the probation to the sacrifice and the final triumph.

Art for paradise

How did people in the late Middle Ages find out about the heroic deeds of their role models? What image did they make of them? The exhibition examines these questions using prominent paintings and sculptures from the late Middle Ages. It illustrates how people in the belief system of the late Middle Ages identified with heroes, martyrs and saints. As role models, they should help people to get back to paradise, which mankind had lost through the fall of man.

Our accompanying program (April to the beginning of August 2019)

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Rosary tablet
Veit Stoss, around 1518