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Tilman Riemenschneider
August 9, 2008 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Tilman Riemenschneider (1460-1531) was one of the great late medieval sculptors. Riemenschneider worked in both wood and stone, although his specialty was limewood sculpture. (Not surprisingly, he had imitators.) His greatest achievements, however, are his exquisitely carved and spectacular altars, of which the most famous is the Altar of the Holy Blood (Heilig-Blut-Altar).

For comparative purposes, see some of Riemenschneider's contemporaries, such as Niclaus Gerhaert von Leiden and Veit Stoss (especially the High Altar of St. Mary).
posted by thomas j wise (9 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Another altar that I remember from the altar rich holidays of my youth: the 9 altars in the St. Nicolai church in Kalkar.
Go visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber when you're in the neighbourhood. It's a cute intact medieval town and carvings like this should really be viewed in their 3d reality.
posted by jouke at 10:47 PM on August 9, 2008


Thank-you thomas j wise. I'd love to get a good book of this stuff and would love to hear any recommendations.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:59 PM on August 9, 2008


I'd love to get a good book of this stuff and would love to hear any recommendations.

You might try Michael Baxandall.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:19 PM on August 9, 2008


Lovely. I'm lucky enough to have seen some of Riemenschneider's carvings, and his name has been stuck in a corner of my head ever since. Thanks for this, thomas j wise!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:34 AM on August 10, 2008


Go visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber when you're in the neighbourhood.

Avoid the Museum of Crime and Punishment (aka the Torture Museum) if you have a weak stomach.

The Riemenschneiders are amazing. It's hard to do them justice in photographs.
posted by Kinbote at 5:01 AM on August 10, 2008


Riemenschneider's just gorgeous, thanks.
Yes, Baxandall's book is fantastic (and he's just about my favorite art historian). He covers the whole set of mental habits that people would have 'read' sculpture like this with, suggesting, among other things, that they used a similar vocabulary to talk about carving as they did calligraphy.
Interesting to remember that carved altars were at one point in Europe the classy ones (not just in Germany) and painted panels were initially a way to go cheap, or for protective wings/shutters and the like. Before things went upside down in Flanders.
posted by Capybara at 5:31 AM on August 10, 2008


Niclaus Gerhaert was probably the most influential of the northern 15th century sculptors. Besides Tilman Riemenschneider and Veit Stoss he also influenced Erasmus Grasser, famous for his series of 10 animated Morris Dancers (click on icons to enlarge).
posted by stbalbach at 5:36 AM on August 10, 2008


nthing the Baxandall-- it's a lovely book. Thanks for this-- Riemenschneider is a favorite of mine.
posted by BundleOfHers at 10:28 AM on August 10, 2008


See also the cloisters in NYC if that's closer than Germany.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on August 10, 2008


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