Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology

  From the Monster Collection

These charming dragons with intertwining tails are part of a capital decoration in another church in Heiligenstadt, St. Martin.

Dragon relief on a capital in the south aisle
(The photo was taken free hand in a rather dark room)

The architectural history of St. Martin is a bit of a mess. We can see it's a Gothic church in the basilica style (aisles lower than main nave, other than St. Mary), with an annexed crypt in late Romanesque style. The oldest part seems to be the choir and the main nave. One chronicle from 1276 mentions a request for donations to rebuild the old church which obviously was about to crumble. No remains of this older building have been found so far. Another source points to the fact that the choir seems to have been finished in 1316.

St. Martin Church, Heiligenstadt; seen from the south

While the nave and choir thus are early Gothic style, the southern aisle is high Gothic, and the west facade with it's rosette window is late Gothic - in England called perpendicular or flamboyant style. But the interior of the church gives the impression of harmony, despite the long time that passed until the building was finished.

View from the choir to the south aisle

Our dragons date from 1360-70. Compared to the Italian Romanesque ornaments in Königslutter, the figures are more twisted with less regard to anatomy, leaves and other ornaments more splendid and wild, and the symmetry sometimes broken.

The hunt had a symbolic meaning in the Middle ages, and so we find the motive here as well.

Hunting motive on a capital in the south aisle

Since it was already evening, and I hadn't brought a tripod, it was very tricky to get some useable pics free hand. Flash doesn't work with reliefs, it flattens the outlines so that they look more like paintings. A reason to go back, lol.

I like the one of the nave.
Those are great photos. You're right - it is darn hard taking shots of carved reliefs, they do come out flat.
I'll try to get some shots of our church and post them, and dig up some history about it. All I know is it was one of the first examples of gothic - style architecture in France.
Thanks, Hank.

lol, what I need is a) a better tripod, and b) overcoming my Inner Lazy Guy and actually bring the thing with me when I go places. :)
Yes, do post some pics of your church.
Love the dragons :) The pics are very good considering they're tripod-less.
You should get yourself one of those small, lightweight tripods - I have one (well, dad has one actually, but I 'borrow' it). It's great :)
The problem with the lightweight ones is that they tend to stand more wobbly than I do free hand. And the monster I have, which stands firm even during an earthquake, is heavier than the battle axe of Gorm the Giant. :)
Maybe you could use a telescoping walking stick and lean your camera on that (I don't know what kind of camera you use- or how heavy it is). That said, I think the pictures are awesome- not too dark that I can't see the details, and definitely not flat.
Love the photo of the nave! It's gorgeous.
The dragons look rather sweet.
I like the photo of the nave. Great sense of space and light.
I like the dragons. They actually look as if they're grinning at each other. Great photos, Gabriele.
Great pics, really like the one with the dragons.
Bery nice.
Tripod or not.
I wonder what the "shelves" ( sorry, I can't think of the proper term) above each of the arches was for.
Thank you, Ann. I use such a stick sometimes, but it doesn't work a tripod.

Thanks, Alianore. It is a beautiful church and I really wonder why it's not better known.

Thank you, Carla. My father often filches my interior shots because he says his don't turn out so well. :)

Yes, Shelley, the dragons are cute. It took me a dozen shots to get one decent pic, but it was worth the fun.

Thanks, Marie.

Bernita, they're called imposts, and I suppose their main function has to do with weight distribution of the heavy cross grain nave resting on the pillars. I'm not good at physics, maybe Constance or Celedë can confirm that: if the weight would rest directly on the pillars, it would press downward and might crush the pillars or at least affect their stability. With the imposts in between, the weight is sorta bolstered, or so. :)
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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