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The Guelph Treasure: From a Medieval Cathedral to Modern Museums (lecture)

Date: Sunday, November 18, 2007
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

It is one of the greatest works of art in the world—the Guelph Treasure, also known as the Welfenschatz, a collection of jewel-encrusted, gold-laden reliquaries and liturgical objects, some of which date back over 1,000 years. Five stunning objects from the Guelph Treasure are featured in Medieval Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art (on view October 30, 2007–January 20, 2008 at the Getty Center), including a gem- and pearl-studded portable altar, a gilded silver reliquary possibly containing fragments of the True Cross, and a golden arm enshrining a saint's bone.

Explore the artistry of these treasures and learn their fascinating history in this free lecture by Christina Nielsen, an expert on medieval art and the history of collecting. Hear about the Guelph Treasure's origins in Saxony and its 800 years spent hidden away from public view in the possession of German royalty, how World War I precipitated the sale of the treasure to art dealers in New York and Frankfurt, and how several of its objects came to reside at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval European art in the world.

About Christina Nielsen
Christina Nielsen is assistant curator for medieval art at the Art Institute of Chicago, whose collections include two objects from the Guelph Treasure, The Veltheim Cross and a reliquary with tooth of John the Baptist. She is the editor and co-author of Devotion & Splendor: Medieval Art at the Art Institute of Chicago and the forthcoming To Inspire and Instruct: A History of Medieval Art in Midwestern Museums.

Bejeweled gilt monstrance from the Guelph Treasure

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