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


11.2.08
  More Old Architecture

I have some more pics of the Gothic St.Martin Church in Heiligenstadt for you. Several of the interior shots turned out quite nice.

Main nave, view to the west

You can see the rosette window behind the organ. The west part is the youngest; rosette windows are a sign of the perpendicular style. Though Heiligenstadt can't compete with York in size, the interior still gives the impression of great harmony.

I aimed the camera slightly towards the ceiling so you can see the late afternoon light coming in through the clerestories while the lower part of the nave remains in twilight. It was a very peaceful atmosphere the day I visited the church.

Main nave, view to the east with the choir windows

I've mentioned the architectonic tricks like the heavy bundled pillars and the unadorned walls that lend the nave greater height. Fortunately, the changes from the Baroque times, like wall paintings, additional altars and pulpits and probably some of those gilded chubby angels had been removed as early as 1862, so the original structure is visible again.

Of course, the church could have been whitewashed or painted in the Middle ages as well. But 14th century frescoes would have fit better with the architecture, I'd say. I have not found any mention of traces of Medieaval colours on the walls in the guide book, so I don't think any have been found under all that Baroque stuff.

As it is, I prefer the unadorned stone.

Pulpit on the north wall near the quire

Heiligenstadt had strong connections with the archbishopric of Mainz, which is interesting because it is a good distance east of the Rhine. The influence of the archbishops of Mainz in Saxony will tie in with the posts about our friend Otto of Northeim. For now I'll only say: men of the Church were probably worse intrigants than secular nobles. :)
 
Comments:
Gorgeous architecture. I love Gothic arches. And the
atmosphere in churches and cathedrals, even though I'm not religious. Their serenity is incredible.

Though the sheer skill of the architecture, gorgeous though it is, lets us know those clergy were fair raking in the cash. Destroys the illusion a little bit. ;)
 
Yep, as Goethe has his Mephistopheles say in Faust, The Church, it has a big stomach. It can well take this sin (meaning the jewels Faust gave to Gretchen) without corruption.

I'm not religious, either, but I love old churches as well.
 
Beautiful!

It would be interesting to see how the colored stone looked in its day--though I think I too prefer the unadorned stone.
 
Beautiful. I prefer the natural stone, too.
 
Wonderful!
You captured the paradox of stone and spirit.
 
Susan,
I think colour taste in former times was more garish, probably due to the overall drabness of the common people's life (undyed wool, wattle and daub huts, earthenware dishes ...) and thus attending mass in a church with frescoes and decorations was indeed a special time of the day or week.

Thank you, Shelley.

Thanks, Bernita. I'm always glad when I can catch more than what's visible to the eye on a photo.
 
Lovely photos.

I've heard it argued that church paintings worked like a sort of strip cartoon, illustrating scenes from the Bible for people who didn't have access to books and/or couldn't read.
 
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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.

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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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