A detail examination of the craftsmanship and lives of German woodcarvers from 1475 to 1525 discusses their artistic styles, techniques of carving, and place in society.
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(265mm x 195mm x 28mm)
Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
While it might be difficult to imagine a subject more specialized than the limewood sculptors of Renaissance Germany, there can be no doubting the quality of this book. The writing and the research on which it is based have always distinguished it and have ensured its durability during the 20 years since it first appeared - qualities which earned it the Mitchell Prize in 1980, the most prestigious award in the subject. The period covered by the book spanned the years leading up to the Reformation and were more or less co-extensive with the life of Durer. Baxandall opens with a brief account of the period and its art in southern Germany. He moves on to discuss three prime areas of circumstance visible in the sculpture: the material with which it was made, since this had important consequences for the forms the sculptors chose; the complex and sometimes unexpected functions which the sculptures served; and the profession and market in which the makers lived. Next, he assesses a particular problem of the period, the tension between the sense of group and the sense of individual prowess which arises in the sculpture and elsewhere: both 'German art' and individual style were being discovered at the time, and the book examines how both are registered in the carvings. Moving on to discuss the visual skills indigenous to Germany around 1500, the author then looks at a selection of carvings in more detail. The names of many of the sculptors are not well-known, or even recorded, but the great service of Baxandall's book is to emphasize their place in the development of western art and to remind us that not all the great works of the Renaissance emerged from the Franco-Italian tradition. (Kirkus UK)
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