Petrus Alamire - Polyphony in the picture


Exhibition Petrus Alamire, Antwerp © Alamire Foundation


Touring exhibition

Music copyist and trader Petrus Alamire (Nuremberg, ca. 1470 - Mechelen, 1536) was a scion of the Bavarian merchant family Imhoff and moved at a young age to the Low Countries, where he stayed at the Burgundian-Habsburg court. He led a workshop for copyists and illuminators. The world and work of Petrus Alamire is the subject of travelling exhibition in Antwerp Cathedral from 21 August to 30 November 2015. The exhibition won a number of prestigious awards, and included an innovative media installation Speculum Musurgica, allowing visitors to experience polyphony spatially. Central to this entire project were the skilfully executed manuscripts, their function, their meaning and the richness of early sixteenth-century music.

The exhibition developed in 2015, curated by Bart Demuyt, David Burn and Manfred Sellink and displayed in Antwerp Cathedral, has a modular design, intended for the purpose of touring internationally: (a) panels with life-size reproductions of photographs from all the manuscripts concerned; (b) films based on digital images, with sharp details projected onto high-resolution screens; (c) manuscripts (including all the Alamire codices held in Belgium), paintings and sculptures; (d) the innovative, experiential multimedia installation Speculum Musurgica; (e) a facsimile of the Alamire manuscript now held in Mechelen; (f) media guides with information, image material and music recordings; (g) publications.

After visiting Beverley (UK) in 2017 and Bourg‐en-Bresse (FR) in 2018, the exhibition was open to visitors at the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome in 2019, under the title L’arte musicale della polifonia fiamminga – un’esperienza multimediale. The media installation Speculum Musurgica (developed by the artist Rudi Knoops) was surrounded by seven high-resolution screens presenting a selection of images from manuscripts produced at Petrus Alamire’s workshop. The intended showing of the exhibition at the KADOC during the and& festival 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.