Courses Past

German Gothic Sculpture, 1200-1450

HSAR 587a, Graduate Seminar
Thursdays, 1:30-3:20 pm

Like their counterparts in France, the churches of medieval German-speaking lands were filled with an abundance of sculpted figures, both free-standing and attached to the architecture. Unlike the former, these monuments have received scant attention from Anglophone scholars. This neglect is all the more remarkable in light of the fine state of preservation of many German sculptural programs, their extraordinary level of technical quality and formal experimentation, and the abundant literature they have inspired among European scholars from the very inception of our discipline. This seminar will explore the major sculptural monuments of Gothic Germany broadly defined (extending from Basel to Prague, and including Bamberg, Magdeburg, Naumburg, and Strasbourg), as well as the figural types that flourished there and still survive in unusual numbers (such as crucifixes, Pietàs, and tomb effigies). The aim of the course is threefold: to providestudents with deep knowledge of the various forms and functions of later medieval sculpture in Europe’s most expansive political territory; to re-evaluate the place of this art in the larger trajectory of medieval and early modern artistic production; and to consider the changing methods by which these objects and monuments have been approached by scholars from the early twentieth century onward. Readings will include classic works by Hans Jantzen, Erwin Panofsky, Wilhelm Pinder, and Wilhelm Vöge, as well as more recent scholarship by Jacqueline Jung, Bernd Nicolai, Nina Rowe, Willibald Sauerländer, Helga Sciurie, Michael Viktor Schwarz, and Robert Suckale. German reading knowledge is essential.

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