Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nuremburg City Museum, part 2

Moving on from the museums holdings of religious art to it's artifacts and crafts. Or something. Models of the eye, dental tools (it's hard to see, but there are some ingenious three-pronged clamps for pulling teeth), minerals and herbs for potions, and of course, gun butts. And what gun butts they are. Click on images to look more closely. Especially at those pedestals for the eye models. Holy #$@%&.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nuremburg city museum, part I

Over the Christmas and New Year's holiday I was in Germany. The first city I visited was Nuremburg. Below are some images from the Nuremburg City Museum. Like many European municipal museums I've visited in the past, Nuremburg has an oddly eclectic collection of objects and artwork stretching from roman times up through the middle ages, Renaissance and somewhat later. Actually the collection reaches further back than that, they have a number of neolithic finds of bone and stone implements, too. But as usual most of what I was interested in was the art and artifacts of the middle ages. Here are some pieces of religious art mostly from the middle ages. The place was filled with stuff, much of which was unremarkable, but following are a few pieces I thought especially beautiful. The subtlety of the faces and expression here in the first two stone sculptures are kind of amazing. Look at the ever so slight rippling of fabric on the first madonna's breast. And her half warm and smiling, half arrogant expression. Awesome.

I came accross several images of St. Christopher carrying the infant Christ on the trip. This one I thought especially dark. A re-enactment after the end of the world.

Here is some female saint standing on a (sleeping?) mortal. The Hindu goddess of chaos, Kali is usually shown like this, I believe, as a symbol of the necessity of submission to the chaos of the world, but I don't recall seeing it in western art. If anyone knows who this Saint might be I'd be curious to hear.

Lastly there was a striking painting of the last judgement. As in most of such scenes the devils casting souls into hell is the more interesting side. I have to apologize for the quality of the images, but I thought the various demons were worth a look. Medieval demon imagery is so strange and inventive. I liked these a lot, but they also reminded me of Maurice Sendak's wild things a bit. Note in particular the man being force fed gold coins, and the rabbit-eared devil with a backpack filled with sinners. More soon.