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A look into the treasure chamber of the Prince of Liechtenstein

November 14, 2016

The Princely Collections are being hosted in Bern. Over 200 masterpieces will be on display until 19 March at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern. Following an exclusive preview on Thursday, the exhibit was inaugurated in the presence of HSH Hereditary Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein on Friday.

Over the coming months, one of the most magnificent private art collections is affording an inside look at its treasure chamber. Over 200 masterpieces from the immense collection were selected for the exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern. A representative cross-section of the treasures of the Princes of Liechtenstein will be on display, spread over two levels of the museum. According to Matthias Frehner, Director of Art and Collections at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern, this exhibit is something the likes of which does not exist in Switzerland. 

Masterpieces and the stories behind them

Eighteen rooms and display cabinets arranged according to theme give visitors an insight into different focal points of the collections, for example princely self-representation, portraiture, religious themes, mythology, still lifes and landscape paintings. Paintings, sculptures, furniture and craftwork, among others, created by Masters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Adriaen van Ostade, Pieter Brueghel, Jacques Jordaens und Athonis van Dyck will be on display. The exhibit aims to provide visitors with a representative impression of the broad scope of the collection, as well as highlight certain special individual pieces. Because not only is the art history spanning five centuries impressive, the stories behind the individual pieces are also fascinating.

For example, the portrait of Princess Karoline von Liechtenstein (1768-1831), which in its day caused a small scandal. The oil painting by artist Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun commissioned by the Princess’ husband Prince Alois I, depicts the Princess as the Greek goddess Iris; she floats barefoot in the clouds wearing a translucent gown. The Princely Family objected to this mise en scène, which was not considered particularly befitting to the social status of the Family. In order to allay the surge of indignation it gave rise to, the husband had a pair of evening shoes placed under the portrait, giving the impression they had just slipped off his wife’s feet.

Exclusive LGT preview

The new exhibit in Bern was opened last Friday with a big gala event and will run until 19 March. The exhibit opened its doors to 200 guests and clients of LGT on the previous evening. At an exclusive LGT preview attended by HSH Prince Philipp von und zu Liechtenstein, they had the opportunity to visit this unique exhibit before the official opening.