Picturing the Divine: Slow Art Day at the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum

For their third Slow Art Day the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum (RPM) in Hildesheim, Germany, featured three statues representing the divine or enlightenment from several permanent exhibitions:

– The Egyptian goddess Isis

– A Bodhisattva (a Buddhist monk that is acknowledged to have achieved enlightenment on Earth through discipline and compassion)

– A Pieta (image of the Virgin Mary in mourning with the dead body of Jesus)

The goddess Isis, seated. Egypt. c. 600 BCE/BC. Photo courtesy of the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum.
Bodhisattva of Compassion (Bodhisattva der Barmherzigkeit) Guanyin, China, Ming-dynasty. 1368-1644. Photo courtesy of the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum.
Pieta. Mary, mother of God (Mary, Mutter Gottes). Hildesheim. c. 1520-1525. Photo courtesy of the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum.

Participants were invited to look slowly at the three featured statues, while museum staff were also available for in-depth discussion.

The theme of divinity was chosen as an interesting way to focus on images of women in diverse religious and cultural traditions: the Egyptian goddess Isis, and – in the Catholic tradition – the Virgin Mary. Interestingly, in Buddhism it is debated whether women can become enlightened and achieve Buddha-status, or if they need to first be reborn as a man. Some paths of Mahayana Buddhism acknowledge both male and female Bodhisattvas, but in the stricter Theravada tradition only men are able to achieve the status of Arhat (a version of enlightenment that is founded on individual wisdom rather than on the principle of compassion). Thus, the Bodhisattva statue is a great example of how visual representation can lead to dialogue and exploration.

In the words of Andrea Nicklisch, ethnologist at the museum:

“Slow Art Day offers a wonderful opportunity to explore representations of women and to deal intensively with deities in different cultures and art in a new way.”

RPM ethnologist Andrea Nicklisch.

We look forward to whatever this archaeological museum comes up with for April 13, 2024.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Stay updated with the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum via their Facebook and Instagram pages.

P.P.S. Registration is now open for Slow Art Day 2024.

Fossil Interpretations at the RPM in Hildesheim

For their second Slow Art Day, the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum (RPM) in Hildesheim, Germany, produced short videos about three objects by artist Gerd Hjort Petersen that were part of the exhibit “Begegnung mit Gerd Hiort Petersen und Hans Munck Andersen” [Encounter with Gerd Hiort Petersen and Hans Munck Andersen].

Gerd Hjort Petersen,”Sea Urchin Fossil 1″, 2015. Photo: Sh. Shalchi.
Denmark, Bornholm, stoneware, owned by the artist. (Click here to see this and the other videos.)
Gerd Hiort Petersen, “Sea Urchin Fossil 2”, 2011. Photo: Sh. Shalchi.
Denmark, Bornholm, stoneware, owned by the artist. (Click here to see this and the other videos.)
Gerd Hiort Petersen, “Rock Shell”, 1993.  Photo: Sh. 
Shalchi. Denmark, Bornholm, stoneware, collection Cla├čen. (Click here to see this and the other videos.)

Short texts promoting the objects and Slow Art Day were shared before the videos went live. Then, on April 4, the three videos were shared to Facebook and the Museum’s website, featuring brief commentary by Dr. Andrea Nicklish, Curator of the Ethnological Collection. They received 350+ views, and are still available to watch on the Museum’s website.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the focus on shapes, materials and textures in this event. The videos recreated the experience of viewing the objects in the actual museum space, and gave a sense of their sizes, intentionally exaggerated by the artist.

We look forward to what the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum come up with for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley