Eva Kaiser - "Breath of life" - 100 x 140 - mixed media on canvas
The Good Works - Artistic Postures on Charity
"This verse from the last chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians by the Apostle Paul accentuates his top sentence only a few lines earlier: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbour as yourself: (Gal 5:14). Among the Gospel passages that illustrate this core sentence, the corporal works of mercy stand out (Mt 25:34-46). Matthew's so-called end-time discourse speaks of six ways of acting.
The exhibition "The Good Works" deals with the broad area of Christian charity, made tangible through the "Six Works of Mercy" mentioned in Matthew 25: "Feed the hungry" - "Give drink to the thirsty" - "Clothe the naked" - "Welcome strangers" - "Visit the sick" - "Visit prisoners".
Already the church father Laktanz (died 325) added a seventh work with "Burying the Dead", whose biblical foundation can be found in the Old Testament Book of Tobit.
If one tries to apply this to today, the topicality of the subject becomes apparent: one spontaneously associates terms such as development aid, care for the sick, care for the homeless, care for refugees, the problem of beggars, modern penal system, but also the palliative movement, funeral services, etc.
The exhibition spans the spectrum from medieval to contemporary art. It demonstrates with many examples how socially engaged artists at all times have been able to bring this historical pictorial tradition into their respective present, developing and reshaping it.
Eva Kaiser - "Goodness" - 45 x 45 - 2011 Acrylic on canvas
The canon of saints also includes a number of very popular figures who have become the epitome of charity. Think, for example, of St Martin, who according to legend shared his coat with a beggar, or St Elisabeth of Thuringia, who virtually became a symbol of Christian charity. The classic depiction shows her distributing bread to the needy. Among the saints of the more recent past, Mother Teresa should be mentioned.
Curated by Wolfgang Christian Huber
Custodian of the art collections of Klosterneuburg Abbey
The exhibition "The Good Works" - Artistic Postions on Charity
is from 1 May to 15 November 2023
daily 9-18 h
on view in the Sala terrena gallery of the monastery
Guided tour: Saturday, Sunday and public holiday at 12.30 and 3 p.m.
Stiftsplatz 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg