One afternoon, I went for lunch at a restaurant near the cathedral. I wish I could remember its name. The food was delicious: Baeckeoffe and another choucroute dish with the best tasting sauerkraut I’ve had my entire life. Afterward I went to le Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame. Admission is normally five Euros but for ten Euros I had admission to ten different museums as long as I visited them on the same day. I took advantage of this and visited several other museums including the Musée alsaciaen and Musée historique. The Œuvre Notre-Dame is a unique institution founded to collect donations for the building, upkeep and renovation of the cathedral. Medieval and Renaissance Alsatian art is displayed in the Maison de l’Œuvre (1347 and 1578-85), the Hôtellerie du Cerf (14th century) and in a 17th century house surrounding a courtyard. Many of the original statues from the Cathedral can be found in the hall of the builders’ and stone masons’ guild. The first floor houses an important collection of religious Alsatian art. The panels of the Nativity of the Virgin and of Doubt of Saint Joseph, painted by an anonymous master at the beginning of the 15th century, are from the convent of St. Mark's in Strasbourg. They were probably part of a large altarpiece dedicated to the Virgin Mary which has long since disappeared. Perhaps the most valuable piece of art in the museum is the painting of Sainte Madeleine et Sainte Catherine by Conrad Witz from 1440. It is kept behind bullet proof glass and within a vacuum sealed case upon the wall. The painting of Sainte-Ursule and her eleven companions is quite stunning. It comes from the Dominican Convent in Colmar and was painted between 1440-50 by an unknown Alsatian master. This rather macabre painting from around 1470 is called Les amants trépassés (the departed lovers) and is a very popular piece in the museum. It works as a meditation on the vanity of earthly things and the fragility of existence. Three Pilgrims on Their Way to St James of Compostela (1480-1490) The arrest of St James the Greater (1480-1490) Portrait of a Young Man by Lucas Cranach le Jeune (1533) Vanity (1650) by German still life painter Sebastian Stoskopff—I thought that it was rather interesting to see the room set up behind this painting with all of the things that the painter used as props. These are some polychrome wood busts from the main altar of the cathedral and were created in 1500 by Nicolas de Haguenau. This altar to St- Sébastien from the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Neuwiller-lès-Saverne dates from 1520 and is just one of many beautiful altars on display at the museum. The Musée alsacien (Alsatian museum) is located in a group of 16th and 17th century houses. It opened on 11 May 1907 and is dedicated to all aspects of (mostly rural) daily life in pre-industrial and early industrial Alsace. It contains over 5000 exhibits and is notable for the reconstruction of the interiors of several traditional houses. I was in awe of this place and wanted to take photos of everything inside. In the end I just purchased the museum catalogue but even that wasn't enough. I simply must go back someday. This is the door to an Alsatian wardrobe made in 1764 on the occasion of someone’s marriage. These jugs and beer tankards are made from salt-glazed stoneware. Production of this type can be traced back as far as the 15th century, but only seems to have started in earnest when a German stoneware potter settled in Betschdorf in 1717. The grey surface of the pots is decorated with etched motifs and cobalt blue designs commonly depicting animals. Towards the end of the firing process, during which the temperature inside the kiln reaches as high as 1250° C, coarse salt is thrown inside. The heat vaporizes the salt and a fine vitreous film forms on the sides of the pots giving them a shiny impermeable coating. This is an 18th century earthenware stove from Riquewihr. White earthenware stoves, decorated with figurative motifs painted in blue and rocaille decorative moulding were found in the houses of the prosperous. It could be heated up and cooled very slowly. This is the main room of an Alsatian farmhouse, the Stub. The ceiling and wood panelling come from a farmhouse built in 1810 in Wintzenheim, a village in the Kochersberg region west of Strasbourg. An iron stove kept the room warm and the panelling helped to insulate the room from the cold outside. Items used for farm work kept outside in the courtyard. The Strasbourg Historical Museum is located in the Ancienne Boucherie (1587) and depicts the urban, political, economic and social history of Strasbourg throughout the period from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, with rich collections of paintings and works of graphic art, arms and military uniforms, and objects from everyday life.
These works come from a house on rue Faubourg National. As in the paintings of Archimboldo, the four busts are made up of flowers, fruits and vegetables evoking the four seasons. The museum pays homage to Johannes Gutenberg and the many different printing houses which opened up all over the city in the second half of the 15th century. Many first editions of original books can be found here as well as the first printed copy of the Oath of Argentoratum, an oath of fidelity sworn by two of Charlemagne’s grandsons and is the first official text written in both a Romance and a Germanic language. Johann Jacob Fried (1623-1677) painted by Théodore Roos in 1667. As a lawyer and syndic of the city, Fried directed the chancellery. The mayor entrusted him with several diplomatic missions to Louis XIV. Johann Adam Schrag (1617-1687) painted by Barthélemi Hopfer in 1687. Schrag was a diplomat that argued that Strasbourg should remain a neutral city. The museum has a wealth of tiles, pottery and dishware used in everyday Alsatian life.