Jana Gajdošová (University of Cambridge, Großbritannien): The Lost Gothic Statue of St. Wenceslas at the Old Town Bridge Tower
This article suggests that a Gothic statue of St. Wenceslas once stood in front of Prague’s Old Town Bridge Tower in a location where a miracle associated with the translation of the saint’s body occurred. Consequently, the statue complemented the east façade’s sculptural program but was also set away from it in order to signal the saint’s significance here. This location in turn encouraged the viewers below to interact with the statue in a very intimate way, and also to make a link between this canonized Bohemian ruler and Emperor Charles IV. The emperor’s own statue on the façade, fashioned with the symbols of St. Wenceslas, leaned out of its architectural niche in order to look down at the saint-king and to emphasize the link between the two rulers.
Stephanie Lebas Huber (City University of New York Graduate Center, USA): Silver and Sanctified Bookkeeping: St. Eligius and the Smelting of Sin in the Wittenberg Heiligtum
This article examines Lucas Cranach’s renderings of two non-extant silver gilt reliquaries made in the likeness of St. Eligius from the electoral Heiligtum in Wittenberg. The significance of Eligius’s dual roles as both a metalworker for the Merovingian kings and as the bishop of Noyon bestowed the prince-electors in Wittenberg, most notably Frederick the Wise, with the ability to cleanse their treasury of all sin associated with indulgences. To explain the prominent place given to Eligius’s image in the collection, the article investigates his connection to French royalty, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV’s valorization of his cult, the meaning attributed to his image in vernacular legends, and the evolving administrative role of bishops across the Middle Ages.
Marianne Koos (Université de Fribourg, Schweiz): Verkörperung – Entkörperung bei Rembrandt
This article analyzes the painterly formation of pictorial subjects of embodiment and disembodiment since the early modern period. Starting with Gerhard Richter, Quattrocento painters, and Titian, it focuses on Rembrandt and his late group portrait The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deijman (1656). The subject of this picture is a dissection of a man’s brain – and hence the surgeons’ search for the seat of the human soul and the motion of life. In the motif of the corpse, Rembrandt performs a radical operation with paint layers that historical sources described with the terms “doodverwe” and “lyffverwe” (“dead color” and “body color”). Rembrandt’s pictorial formation is a distinctly complex answer to the soulless, lifeless corpse’s state of being, which has been reduced to no more than an image. At the same time, the dead body is the place in which Rembrandt reflects the act of painting as a way of working with the tension of embodiment and disembodiment, of giving and taking life, with color.
Mattias Pirholt (Södertörns högskola, Schweden): »Gott segne Kupfer«. Goethes Kunstbeschreibungen im Zeitalter der semitechnischen Reproduzierbarkeit
This study investigates how the experience of reproductions – drawings, copperplate engravings, woodcuts, lithography, plaster casts, and so forth – influenced Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s conception of art in general and his descriptions of art (e.g., ekphrases, reviews, and autobiographical accounts) in particular. Well acquainted with the technologies of reproduction of his time, Goethe, often in collaboration with Johann Heinrich Meyer, acknowledged the crucial role of reproductions for the understanding of the productive idea of the original work. Experiences of reproductions and comparisons between copies, drafts, and the original enabled Goethe to grasp the idea as an ever-transforming productive constant of the continuous process of becoming of the work.
Regine Prange (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland): Ornament und Abstraktion: die »Arabeske als Triebfeder der Moderne«?
Contrary to the current discourse on world art, which revives the notion of the ornament as a global artistic phenomenon that transgresses cultures and connects tradition and modernity, this article will elaborate how this concept actually follows a modernist ideology, which evades the crisis of a specifically Western art term in order to reconcile abstraction and representation. The recourse to artisanal procedures of jewelry making motivated an aesthetics of process, within which social practice and its depiction seemed to be unified. Semper’s consequential idea of the ornament as a symbol of art entered exemplary artist theories of the twentieth century. This mythology of the ornament is, however, to be differentiated from the ornament-critical materiality of the paintings of Mondrian, Pollock, and Warhol, which simultaneously nourish a radically iconoclastic impulse, questioning the claim of totality of the classic panel painting by negating the identity of line and surface, figure, and ground.
Joseph Leo Koerner: Bosch and Bruegel. From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life (The A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Bollingen Series XXXV, vol. 57) (Matthijs Ilsink, Radboud Universiteit, Niederlande)
Kai-Uwe Hemken, in Zusammenarbeit mit Ute Famulla, Simon Großpietsch und Linda-Josephine Knop (Hg.): Kritische Szenografie. Die Kunstausstellung im 21. Jahrhundert (Image, Bd. 64) (Anja Dorn, Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Deutschland)