German Sculpture - 14th Century; Nuremberg Schools.
Nuremberg is rich in good sculpture of the 14th century. The church of St Sebald, the Frauenkirche, and the west façade of St Lawrence are lavishly decorated with reliefs and statues, very rich in effect, but showing the germs of that mannerism which grew so strong in Germany during the 15th century. Of special beauty are the statuettes which adorn the "beautiful fountain," executed by Heinrich der Balier (1385-1396), and richly decorated with gold and colour by the painter Rudolf. A number of colossal figures were executed for Cologne cathedral between 1349 and 1361, but they are of no great merit. Augsburg pro-duced several sculptors of ability about this time; the museum possesses some very noble wooden statues of this school, large in scale and dignified in treatment. On the exterior of the choir of the church of Marienburg castle is a very remarkable colossal figure of the Virgin of about 1340-50. Like the Hildesheim choir screen, it is made of hard stucco and is decorated with glass mosaics. The equestrian bronze group of St George and the Dragon in the market-place at Prague is excellent in workmanship and full of vigour, though much wanting dignity of style. Another fine work in bronze of about the same date is the effigy of Archbishop Conrad (d. 1261) in Cologne cathedral, executed many years after his death. The portrait appears truthful and the whole figure is noble in style. The military effigies of this time in Germany as elsewhere were almost un-avoidably stiff and lifeless from the necessity of representing them in plate armour ; the ecclesiastical chasuble, in which priestly effigies nearly always ap-pear, is also a thoroughly unsculpturesque form of drapery, both from its awkward shape and its absence of folds. Fig. 13 shows a characteristic example of these sepulchral effigies in slight relief. It is interesting to compare this with a somewhat similarly treated Florentine effigy, executed in marble at the beginning of the next century, but of very superior grace and delicacy of treatment (see fig. 16 below).
565-1 See Baader, Beitrage zur Kunstgesch. Nürnbergs ; and Rettberg, Nürnbergs Kunstleben, Stuttgart, 1854.
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