Monday, August 30, 2010

Elevated discussion

Thinking about images I might use for my "Religion in Dialogue" syllabus, I remembered the galleries of commentators and discussants atop the remarkable winged altar (c. 1465) in the Reglerkirche in Erfurt; the fact that the altar may have been commissioned by Nicholas of Cusa only made it better. But finding images isn't always that easy. The two above are from a booklet I bought there, but lose the vividness of the colors and, especially, the gilt background. This picture, which I took on a grey day in June of 2005, gives a better sense of the colors. 24 figuresdiscuss the Passion and Pentecost scenes behind an elegant architectural curtain below them, above them 16 angels! (And this is only one layer of the altar. In ordinary time the wings shut, leaving paintings of a dozen saints. The festal center contains carved and gilded scenes from the life of Mary - who stands above the alter, too - and St. Catherine.)

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