Blackwell North Amer This illustrated survey features twenty-two of the most outstanding carved altarpieces from churches in southern Germany, Austria, South Tirol, the Czech Republic, and Krakow. An extensive introduction provides the necessary background to an understanding of the origin and evolution of altarpieces and also maps the chronological and geographical distribution of those that have survived. Each chapter focuses on an individual altarpiece, presenting the relevant historical documentation, analyzing the work's architecture and pictorial program, and placing the altarpiece's sculptures and paintings in their art-historical context. In addition to addressing questions of style and attribution, the author also discusses the changes in religious thinking and iconography that must be considered if one is to fully appreciate the work as a whole. The color photographs, specially commissioned for this project, are an essential feature of the book. Each altarpiece is illustrated in its entirety, with its wings both opened and closed, and in close-up views of its most important carvings and paintings - details that are not available to the average visitor to these sites.
Oxford University Press Monumental carved, winged altarpieces are the most ambitious artworks from the Middle Ages, incorporating the skills of painters, sculptors, and cabinetmakers. Those that are most notable for their artistic originality and masterly execution were produced in the southern German-speaking regions, including Austria and South Tirol, in the last decades of the Late Gothic period (roughly 1460 to 1525). By that time altarpieces had evolved from low, fixed panels to large wooden structures with rich architectural ornamentation. Paintings of the saints often adorned the movable wings, while carved reliefs or freestanding sculptures of scenes from the Gospels occupied the gilded, center shrine. Rainer Kahsnitz offers a close examination of twenty-two of the most important surviving altarpieces, discussing the historical context in which they were made and analyzing how their pictorial programs reflect changing notions of piety. The sumptuous color illustrations capture the altarpieces in all their possible arrangements. The stunning details of these pieces--riotous locks of hair, swirling fabric, and thickets of twisted vines--vividly demonstrate the consummate skill of the master artisans who created them.