Special Exhibition 2022
After last year's special exhibition gave us an excellent introduction to the legend surrounding the beautiful Melusina and - via the first illustrated Basel print of 1473/74 - to the period of the late Middle Ages in general, this year's exhibition focuses on the life of the translator and Lord of Landshut Castle Thüring von Ringoltingen and the political and cultural conditions in 15th century Bern.
An extended biography introduces us to the life of Thüring von Ringoltingen (around 1415-around 1483) and we can familiarise ourselves with Bernese history and find answers to questions such as: What is a Twingherr and what are his rights and duties? What was the so-called Twingherrenstreit actually about?
We are in the second half of the 15th century in a time of upheaval and change. The invention of printing by Johannes Gutenberg revolutionised the distribution of literature. The first printing of the Melusina novel from the pen of Thüring von Ringoltingen contributed significantly to the enormous popularity of the material.
It is interesting to note that printed and handwritten books and texts coexisted almost equally until after 1500. The exhibition demonstrates this with the beautifully illustrated paper manuscript of the "Bernese Parzival". Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote the famous Grail story about Parzival and the legendary Knights of the Round Table of King Arthur between 1200 and 1210.
Like the Melusina story, this novel was also copied and printed many times. The Bern councillor Jörg Friburger, a fellow councillor of Thüring von Ringoltingen, had the Parzival novel copied and illustrated in a Constance writing workshop around 1467. This manuscript is now kept in the Burgerbibliothek Bern. A comparison between the first printing of the Melusina story and the Parzival manuscript is worthwhile.
A rich accompanying programme with guided tours and lectures rounds off the exhibition, and we also encounter again the mystery of the beautiful Melusina in Susi Fux's enchanting musical puppet theatre.
The special exhibition is shown from 8 May to 16 October in the Granary Hall at Landshut Castle in Utzenstorf. Please note that the exhibition is in German.