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The Altar Of Baumgartnerhof

Painting, XVI century, 157×248 cm

Description of the artwork «The Altar Of Baumgartnerhof»

Why the Holy family with the Central wing Baumgartners altar of Albrecht dürer surrounded by many disproportionately small human figures? What considerations forced the company to write Joseph and Mary on the background of the ruins and why was Joseph holding in his hand a burning lamp, although the painting day, blue sky and brightly shining sun giant? Why is a crucifix on the flag of the Saint of the right wing placed between the horns of the deer, and the foot of St. with left sash encircles the tail of the dragon? Who and why has repeatedly rewritten the surface of the altar? And what catastrophe was waiting for Baumgartners the altar at the end of the twentieth century?

The history of the altar

In 1498, the year countrymen dürer in Nuremberg – brothers Lucas and Stefan from the patrician family of Baumgartnerhof – commissioned artist triptych for the altar of the local Church of St. Catherine (Katharinekirche). Stefan just recently made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and the altar was supposed to be a kind of gratitude that all went well.

Saints with the valves of the altar of Baumgartnerhof

It is believed that dürer first hunt wrote the sash and only a few months later reluctantly proceeded to the Central panel. It and is clear: nature for Nativity scene still had to pick up, but the models for the saints George and Eustace was literally at hand. Of course, they were themselves brothers Paumgartner.

Pilgrim Stefan embodied the image of St. George (in the Russian tradition called the victorious) the left leaf the obvious way of showing that he emerged victorious from all road troubles and spiritual dangers. A symbol of evil dragon written by dürer in the form of a winged beast, covered in scales with a forked tongue and spindle-shaped tail, encircling the right leg of St. George. Saint is depicted at the moment when he pulls on the leash of the defeated dragon into the city, where the monster will kill the eyes of the assembled townspeople.

On the right leaf written great Martyr Eustathius, a legendary figure and the patron of hunters Catholics. He was a commander named Place when the Roman emperors Titus and Trajan, and Christian, who took the name of Eustace, became after hunting he saw a deer with a luminous cross between its horns, and therefore on the standard of the Saint is traditionally portrayed stag head with a crucifix. Eustache, who, according to hagiographic literature, after his conversion has undergone no less suffering than the biblical job, Albrech dürer gave manly features of the second brother of Baumgartnerhof – Lucas.

Apparently, this was the first time in the history of art when the artist dared to depict sponsors in the role of the saints.

The Central panel and conceited Patricia

For the rest of baumgartners "clan" was not the secret that fake panel, which will become the altar doors, dürer extremely successful, and recognizable Lukas and Stefan now have a chance to remain for centuries. The scandal in "the Holy family" broke the noble: on the altar threw off all Paumgartner, and all the glory will go only those two.

Dürer, meanwhile, had just finished working on a Central panel with a scene of the Nativity by cleverly combining the North-European iconographic staging of the figures in Italian careful observance of perspective and proportions. He portrayed the elder Joseph, somewhat clumsily on his knees, and a truncated bottom edge of the Board, majestic in its simplicity Mary in a blue robe with a white cloth on his head and a tiny figure of the baby surrounded by angels. "Dürer– says Silvia Borghese – want to tell a very human and modern history, far from the idealism of Italian painting and is close to the Northern relief naturalism".

Architectural ruins, acts as a backdrop for the events was partly a tribute to dürer's trip to Italy, where he was particularly fascinated by the works of the artist Andrea Mantegna based on optics and geometry. Dürer has not yet reaches an impressive perspective illusionism, as Mantegna in the image of the famous arches with frescoes "Procession of Jacob to death" but durasovsky unusual interior with a Central panel of the altar of Baumgartnerhof where the walls are interspersed with arched niches, consistently leading the viewer's eye to the main arch leading out of the room to the fields, trees and clear sky, very interesting as an experience of rational building space.

Alas, thoughtful composition, so carefully designed by Durer, fell victim to the vanity of Baumgartnerhof. The principle of "who pays – the Piper calls the tune" cannot be neglected in the name of art: dürer experienced financial difficulties. He reluctantly agreed to place next to Joseph and Mary all eager glorification of Baumgartnerhof. However, it was not only in glory: according to existed in the country of superstition, the one whose image got when living in a space the Church altar, was freed after death from the punishment for their earthly sins. And because a disproportionately small figures Nuremberg Paumgartner with the family arms at the feet with the molestation of insects filled the entire front plan of a triptych.

Behind Joseph, he again wrote to Stefan and Lucas, familiar to us from the side flaps, along with their father, Martin Paumgartner and another bearded stranger. On the left, at the feet of Mary, dürer placed the female half of the house of Baumgartnerhof – daughter-in-law Martin, Barbara Baumgartner, maiden of Polymer, daughters Barbara and Mary. Their pompous hats the symbol of their family pride, is in sharp contrast to the simple cover from the head of the blessed virgin. Up to the present day is not reached, another two altar panels depicting saints Catherine and Barbara – they are, supposedly, dürer or his apprentices wrote with the wives of Lucas and Stefan. Closely examining the genealogy of Baumgartnerhof, the researchers came to the conclusion that an unidentified bearded man next to the patricians is the second husband of Barbara, Hans Sanbag. He was not Paumgartner, but to be written with a brush dürer, obviously, wanted him.

It is not quite clear why dürer wrote the Christmas, traditionally portrayed as a night scene with a glowing in the sky a star pointing the way to the Christ child by the Magi, in the light of day. From dürer not only blazes the solar disk in the upper left corner and a glowing angel descends from heaven, but Joseph, despite the day, holding a burning lamp. I think that the lamp in the hands of Joseph – a symbol of contrasting material ("dark") of the world – divine, Durer borrowed from the works of the old Flemish masters.

Records and the census of the altar of Baumgartnerhof

More than a hundred years Baumgartners altar adorned St. Catherine's Church in Nuremberg, and in 1613, the year it was bought by the Bavarian Kurfurst Maximilian I. By the time the triptych was in need of refurbishing, and kurfust submitted it for restoration painter Johann Georg Fischer. The latter approached the case "with the light": he not only restored, but also in its sole discretion finished work of dürer. For example, picky Fischer was not satisfied with plain black the back side of the valves, and would-be restorer attributed to the figures of the brothers Baumgartner landscape background and Eustace even supplied a live horse instead of a deer and the helmet is written by Durer caps, and did it so well and with such subtle knowledge of other durasovsky works, which until the early twentieth century, his blatant interference was not exposed by critics.

Little Paumgartner with paintings by Durer lost in the same the XVII century: unknown, Fisher or, perhaps, someone else decided that the figures of the donors, this intolerable relic of Gothic art, is no longer in Vogue, and wrote them down.

Clearing, restoration and opening of the original form of the Altar of Paumgartner was made only in 1903, the year. Once in the collection of the Munich Old Pinakothek, durasovsky triptych, it seemed, was immune from further barbaric interventions, however, and his misadventures have not ended.

"Acid killer"

21 APR 1988 Baumgartners altar, along with two other paintings dürer (1, 2) doused with sulphuric acid 51-year-old Hans-Joachim Bohlmann, causing the gallery of the damage in 70 million German marks. A homeless pensioner Bohlmann was not a random psycho, a serial maniac, which blew all of the European Newspapers. His first attempt at the famous painting he made back in 1977 year, some time with impunity, and holding in awe art gallery of Hamburg, Hanover, lübeck and Essen, Dusseldorf and Hanover. Damaged among his paintings were the paintings of Rubens and Rembrandt. It is filled with acid "the goldfish" by Paul Klee. Mental health problems were diagnosed in Bollmann in his youth. In 1974, the year he was subjected to lobotomies, but not cured. And when, in 1977, the year his wife, myvshie window fell down and crashed, Bohlmann began to retaliate against works of art. The object of his special hatred for unexplained reasons, was dürer.

The serial killer, dubbed "the acid killer," was sentenced three times to imprisonment, which each time ended with the recognition of his insanity and placement in a psychiatric hospital, where Bohlmann successfully ran. Exactly two decades, he has kept at Bay the Museum world. The account of his "trophies" – masterpieces, disfigured with acid, was close to 60, and the total damage Balmanno museums, – to 138-mi million Euro. Every escape or early release was accompanied by a newspaper sensation and slight panic, while in 2008, the year he died from cancer.

Despite the fact that the work of dürer in the Old Pinakothek at Bollmann took about two liters of sulfuric acid, "Baumgartners altar" has gone through another restoration successfully – he, we understand, to vandalism and rough interventions in the five centuries of its history was not used to.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Northern Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: XVI century

Size: 157×248 cm

Artwork in selections: 13 selections