Here's my journal entry for the museum:
"Followed signs through ancient sculpture, a very dark Alsatian wine cellar (no doubt authentic), XV and XVI century painting . . . and really appreciated the English audio guide. Walked through XVI century sculpture, a not-completely-assembled Martin Schongauer exhibit to Colmar’s pièce de résistance . . . the Issenheim Altarpiece. Again, the audio guide was invaluable!"
I highly recommend using the audio guide. It makes the experience more meaningful. The Issenheim Altarpiece is stunning and very well displayed. There is also enough room to enjoy it and plenty of explanations available.
General admission is 8 euros (in 2011) Check the web site below for changes. They are currently restoring the issenheim Altarpiece but it continues on display so you should be able to see it.
Address: 1 rue d'Unterlinden
Directions: It is well signposted and in the center of town.
Phone: 33 (0)3 89 20 15 58
This building once served as a Dominican convent, under some linden trees (hence the name "underlinden"). This museum houses some impressive exhibits, including one of France's best collections of medieval art. Probably the most famous is the priceless Isenheim Altarpiece, inside the chapel. It also houses some artifacts from Colmar's long history. This should be on anyone's itinernary. In addition, there is a new gallery of modern art.
Address: 1, rue d'Unterlinden F, 68000 Colmar
Directions: At the intersection of the rue d'Unterlinden, route d'Ingersheim, rue Kleber, and rue de Ribeauville.
Phone: 33 (0)3 89 20 15 50
A number of paintings and sculptures of the 15 and 16C are also on view in the nave and the adjacent galleries. The best paintings are by Cranach (The Melancholy) and a Female Portrait (by Hans Holbein the Elder) and what may possibly be the first still life, from 1470 (anonymous). 16C wood sculptures expand the period with works of Master H.L., Veit Wagner and others.
The first very important artist in Colmar was also the first great engraver in Norther Europe. He is remembered here for several paintings and for many fine engravings. His most famous work is the Virgin in the Rose Bower at the Collegiate Church but there are two diptyches in the Unterlinden and some 16 panels of A Passion for which he did much of the work. Fine work by primitives lead the way to his work, these can be seen in an adjacent room of the museum by Gaspard Isenmann and Hermann Schadeberg as well as other early examples from the North.
The most terrifying scene is in the left one of the lateral now paired panels of the rear section of the altar. It is the Temptation of St. Anthony. It relates the internal feelings that were held in those times by about disease. The Antonites were believed to be able to cure ergotism (and possibly also erysipelas or streptococcal infection) which were almost always fatal in those days. Note the sick patient in the bottom left corner with a swollen figure and feet being replaced by a demon. The right picture is a visit by St. Anthony to the hermit St. Paul. The central tryptich is by Nicolas de Haguenau with St. Augustin on the right and St. Jerome on the left. In the lower right panel kneels a church leader one Guy Guers, while at the base of the central panel are two offerants.
When the outer surface of the retable was originally opened, a set of four panels came into view. Today the lateral pair are shown together and nearby the middle two are presented. The viewer must supply the sequence as he wishes. In correct sequence the first on the left is an Annunciation, next an Angel's Concert, then a Mary and Child Newborn Alone and lastly an unusually Rising from the Tomb. Each panel is both restrained and intense and subtly has associated stories in the scenes. Enjoy this.
The outer side of the closed multiple paneled altar piece has a large central painting of the Crucifixion. On the right side of the painting is St. Joseph supporting a distraught Mary and next to the Cross a kneeling Magdalene. On the left of Jesus is John the Baptist (two years dead) with a lamb. In a lateral painting to the right is St. Sebastian.
The Issenheim Altar was made between 1512-16 by Mathis Gothart (known as Grunewald) and was the Altar piece of the of a convent following the rule of Saint Augustine (the Antonites) in that town. In 1793 the set of works was moved to the place Unterlinden and installed in the ex-Dominican chapel which in 1849 became a museum containing the Grunewald masterpiece and works by Schongauer and others. The altar is nicely detached so that one can move among the several wings and approximate the progression of a suppliant. Starting from the outside of the retable which has three panels with a two panel predella Entombment past the second level made up of a set of four panels (originally in one group of 4) now shown as two pairs of important large pictures and on to the third level at the rear with lateral paintings and a central tryptich of sculptured wooden figures while below there is a carved predella of Jesus and the Apostles.
The Museum was started in 1849 by Louis Hugot who managed to keep the building from demolition and who subsequently was able to instal there works by Schongauer and works from many religious communities around Colmar. as well a Roman mosaic from Bergheim.Although theveryone comes primarily to see the Isenheim Alterpiece there are a variety of other items in the collection ranging from primitive painted panels to 20C works by such as Picasso and one should also enjoy the cloister which is where you enter the museum.
"The building of the former Turenne school, built in the 16th century, has since 1985 housed the Colmar Natural History Museum, which was founded in 1859. Initially established in the Unterlinden premises until 1940, the collections were transferred in 1959 to a house which has since disappeared in the Water Tower park, where they were viewed until 1983. The main departments are zoology, mineralogy and ethnography."
Opening hours :
From 1st February to 22nd December: every day except Tuesdays: 10-12 am and 2- 5 pm. Sundays: 2 -6 pm. Closed: 1st May- 1st November and 25th December. Guided tours on request by appointment.
Archaeology, Folk art, Ethnography, Geology and natural sciences
Address: 11, Rue Turenne, 68000 Colmar
Directions: just off the Fishmonger's district
Phone: +33 (0)3 89 23 84 15
"This former Dominican convent, with its Gothic cloister which is considered the finest in Alsace, was built between 1269 and 1289. From the mid-19th century, it housed the Unterlinden museum, which is renowned for its Rhenish masterpieces dating from the end of the middle ages. The Issenheim retable by Matthias Grünewald is displayed in the former chapel, and in front of the chancel is the statue of the Colmarian painter and engraver, Martin Schongauer (v. 1450-1491), made by Bartholdi in 1860."
Address: 1, Rue Unterlinden, 68000 Colmar
Phone: +33 (0)3 89 20 15 50
"The house where the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) was born, the son of a Prefectoral councillor, who died in 1836, this residence was built in the 15th century and transformed in the 18th century into an elegant hôtel particulier [town mansion]. Since 1922 it has housed the largest collection of works, models and souvenirs of the designer of the Statue of Liberty enlightening the world, unveiled in New York in 1886. In the inner courtyard the "Grands Soutiens du monde" group (bronze 1902) can be seen."
Address: 30, rue des Marchands, 68000 Colmar
Phone: +33 (0)3 89 41 90 60
Situated in a former Monastery the museum contains the prestigious Issenheim Altar painted by Mathis Grunewald ,an important collection of Renisch sculptures and pasintings from the end of the middle ages and from the renaissance
Address: 1 rue of Unterliden
Phone: 330389201558Add to your Trip Planner
This is the museum of Jew arts and community.
In the year of 1349 all the jews of Colmar were burned and burried in the well known as "judenloch" in the district of Ladhof .
The museum has a collection of some rare jew arts
Address: 3, rue des Cigognes
Phone: 33 3 89 23 77 06
This is the main tourist sight in Colmar. Its a huge painting of the crucifixtion and its not for the squeamish.
The depiction of Christ's last moments on earth is meant to shock, and if you are religious its probably an intense sight.
Even for those of us who are not religious, it is worth seeing - it kind of of stops you in your tracks.