Skip to main content

Romanesque and Mosan Art

Madonnas with the Child, finely carved ivory panels and sumptuous, religious gold- and silverwork stand together in a great treasure chamber. The top attractions in this exceptional display are the reliquary of Pope Alexander and the portable altar of Stavelot abbey, both dating from the mid-twelfth century.

The treasure chamber

The hallway leading to the gallery is devoted to liturgy and the cult of the relic, the gallery itself to mediaeval works of art from Belgium’s cultural heritage. In making the chronological link between the gallery devoted to Merovingian art and the ‘Gothic-Renaissance-Baroque’ circuit, the gallery is an affirmation of the pomp and circumstance of the Middle Ages.

Mosan ivory of the Crucifixion
Mosan ivory of the Crucifixion, 11th cent., Liège, ivory

Mosan goldsmith's art

Besides ivory carvings, wood sculptures and old textiles, there is also an exceptional collection of examples of the Mosan goldsmith’s art, bringing to life the extraordinary flowering of that art in the Prince-bishopric of Liège during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These fine objects, decorated with precious stones, gold and coloured enamel, come mainly from church treasures from Stavelot, Florennes, Maastricht and Oignies, and piece for piece provide us with a glimpse of the glory of the Romanesque decorative arts in our regions.

Portable alter of Stavelot
Portable alter of Stavelot, 12th cent., wood, bronze, enamel, brown varnish and rock crystal

Sophie Balace