Crown and Veil

The Art of Female Monasticism in the Middle Ages

18 March to 3 July 2005

At a glance
The exhibition, »Crown and Veil«, is dedicated to all forms of female religiosity from the early Middle Ages until the Reformation in the sixteenth century. At the center stand »works« that were made by and for nuns and canonesses. How were their buildings decorated, what images did they venerate and which books did they read? It will become apparent that women’s patronage contributed much more to the art of the Middle Ages than is generally supposed. The normative, political and economic conditions for the foundation and development of women’s monasteries will also be considered, as will be the religious, theological and cultural traditions that shaped their daily lives.
Approximately six hundred outstanding objects from major international collections will be on exhibit for three months, among them many ensembles that will be reunited for the first time since the dissolution of the monasteries from which they originate.

Essen and Bonn
The exhibition will take place simultaneously in two places: Essen and Bonn. It will be possible to visit and take in the two parts of the exhibition independently of one another. Yet the two venues will be closely linked and interrelated one to the other through careful crossreferencing and coordination of their joint conception and presentation. In Essen – until 1803 site of one of the oldest and most important of all »Damenstifte« – the emphasis will be on the medieval tradition of foundations for canonesses, above all, those Saxon institutions situated between the Rhine and the Elbe. In Bonn, the emphasis will be on the reform orders, new foundations and reform movements that shaped the diverse forms of female monasticism.

Publications and Accompanying Program
The exhibition will be documented by an extensive catalogue with essays and entries by leading specialists that will take into account the most recent research. An interdisciplinary colloquium, to be held during the exhibition, will comment on and expand its contributions. A program enabling visits to former female monastic communities in the North-Rhine and Westfalian regions will allow the exhibition to embrace and encompass the entire region.


Krone und Schleier
Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern
Ed. Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Bonn and Ruhrlandmuseum Essen
ca. 640 pages with 780 color illustrations, Hard cover
museum edition: 32 EUR
Trade edition: Hirmer Verlag, Munich
ISBN: 3-7774-2565-6

Show bibliography
  1. Image from ExhibitionPhoto: Peter Oszvald © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Museumsmeile Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
53113 Bonn
T +49 228 9171–200

Opening hours

Mondays closed
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
(including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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