The period of the Middle Ages was characterized by the Christian faith, a powerful aristocracy and the flourishing of cities; it was also a time of devastating plagues and bloody wars. Between 1300 and 1520 especially, medieval society underwent a profound change. Whereas the power of the church remained almost unbroken for a long time, the importance of the knighthood and the minor aristocracy decreased rapidly. The confidence of the city-dwelling bourgeoisie, however, increased.
The focus of the exhibition is on the daily life of the people in the Upper Rhine region. The exhibition gives an insight into different aspects of mediaeval life such as church and religion, disease and death, castles and knighthood, city and countryside, craft and trade. Splendid altars, sculptures and reliefs, rare glass paintings and intricate jewellery are examples of the extraordinary flourishing of craft and art in these times.
From the Benedictine monastery of Rheinmünster-Schwarzach (Upper Rhine region), the Badisches Landesmuseum received an extraordinary archaeological find as a permanent loan from the local church of St. Peter and Paul. The small Schwarzacher Köpfchen (“little head” of Schwarzach) is the oldest example of glass painting in the West (see gallery).