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For nearly five hundred years it takes the Issenheim altarpiece remains of this masterpiece miraculous striking crowds by his unique charisma, between realism and fantasy psychedelic. In the Middle Ages, the unfortunate pustular, seek treatment from the convent of Issenheim, Alsace, were asking the intercession of St. Anthony, reputed to cure motion sickness ardent. The brothers Antonins of Issenheim were indeed specializing in the treatment of the disease caused by ergot. The artwork, closing Antoine statues and other holy figures, took the form of a sort of "great" cabinet (2.90 m high and 3.30 m wide) with two sets of double wings painted on both sides, open during major religious festivals. Since 1853, the altar was installed at the Museum of Unterlinden (Colmar), and has been reassembled so that all the sculptures and panels are exposed. In imposing the silence of the chapel of the museum, it remains literally amazed by this senseless maelstrom of color, earthy or fresh, these hybridizations styles (Gothic and Renaissance), this unique fluidity that takes meticulous realism (a coat of mail , for example) to the supernatural craziest (monsters) in all poetry. It has long been thought that the altarpiece panels, painted between 1512 and 1516, were the work of Albrecht Dürer, although a historian has assigned the work, in the seventeenth century, at a certain Matthias Grünewald, a name invented to the occasion. The artist, whose biography is almost unknown, in fact, called Mathis Nithart Gothart (born in Germany to 1475-1480, died in 1528), but the name has remained Grünewald. It has long been believed that the statues were carried out by the Strasbourg Nicolas Haguenau, was earlier a decade to painting. A campaign of scientific research, conducted between 2000 and 2004 and followed by a symposium in 2006, has lifted many sails on the work without mitigate its aura. In the crypt of the museum, the exhibition marks the conclusion that these years of research strengthens the miracle Grünewald. Nine drawings by her own hand, often double-sided, of the thirty identified so far in the world, are faced with some forty drawings of his illustrious contemporaries, Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Altdorfer and even Leonardo da Vinci, whose studies of drapery, literally "inhabited" strongly evoke those of Grünewald - but there is no evidence that he has traveled in Italy. Such a meeting, given the fragility of the works and their spread in various museums abroad, is exceptional, and it will certainly not be renewed. For the first and only time, the preparatory drawings in which you feel the hand that draws the finger that blurs the charcoal, these sketches and these studies are grouped together to relive the dynamic running of a genius remained in the shadows, but whose masterpiece has survived centuries without any alteration. Another mystery that science clarifies, but taira here on the reasons well explained in the exhibition.

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