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Christoph Maucher. Amber Casket Full of Mystery

The 17th-century amber casket by Christoph Maucher, a unique masterpiece, has become the subject of interdisciplinary research. The results, both from an artistic and technological perspective, will be presented at a temporary exhibition starting from April 6, 2024.

The casket, recognizable as a prominent item in the collections of Malbork and the entire museum, will be showcased in a completely unprecedented manner.

For the first time, visitors will have access to the ornately decorated interior of the casket as well as the underside of its lid. Numerous details will be displayed, some previously undiscovered, others typically invisible to the naked eye, many of them mere millimeters in size. We will present them both in their original form and magnified in large-format photographs.

The exhibition will be complemented by explanatory comments elucidating the purpose and results of the conducted technological analyses. We will also address artistic aspects. The entire exhibition will be complemented by a section dedicated to the ancient craft of the amber artisan.

Considered the most beautiful amber baroque casket in Polish collections, it holds significant importance in the history of art. It serves as an example of the finest Gdańsk craftsmanship produced during the so-called Golden Age. It stands out for its workshop, themes, quality, meticulousness, and masterful execution, as well as its technological solutions.

Christoph Maucher arrived in Gdańsk around 1670 from Baden-Württemberg. Not affiliated with the amber guild, he was dubbed a dilettante and never obtained citizenship in the city. Endowed with exceptional talent, he received numerous commissions, including from royal courts across Europe. He was one of the most renowned amber artisans operating in Gdańsk. Within the amber community, he was perceived as a competitor, and attempts were made to diminish his achievements through numerous complaints and reports.

The works of Christoph Maucher are now housed in the largest European museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden.

The exhibition is part of a scientific project: Technological research of the casket authored by Christoph Maucher, the most valuable amber object in the collections of the Castle Museum in Malbork. The research was conducted in 2022 at the Laboratory of Analysis and Non-Destructive Testing of Cultural Objects at the National Museum in Krakow, funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The task was completed as part of the fourth edition of the competition for research project proposals announced by the National Heritage Research Centre and organized by the National Museum in Krakow.


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