Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Wish You a Merry Christmas

As mentioned in a previous blog: This year Freiburg's Minster church was honored in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the consecration of its Hochchor (high choir). The Swiss painter Johann Louis Bleuer (1792-1850) shows the Minster as seen from the Schlossberg in a "super-elevated" depiction with the choir, as the word high suggests, being higher than the nave.

In addition the amazing aquatint of 1840 shows that Freiburg had remained restricted in its surface to the size Vauban had specified when he constructed his fortifications around the then French city in the 1680s. When the French troops "definitely" withdrew from Freiburg in 1745 they destroyed Vauban's masterpiece. Note that on the debris left behind Freiburg's citizens do their gardening. Only with the energetic building activity under Mayor Otto Winterer did the city eventually expand beyond its inner circle at the end of the 19th century.

You are missing a Christmas theme? One of the artists who helped finish the Minster high choir was Johannes Wydyz. Sad to say he did not see its consecration for he already died in 1510. One of the masterpieces he created in 1505 is the Adoration of the Magi:

Undisturbed by the unrest of the times Wydyz shows three wealthy gentlemen clad in splendid gowns offering their gifts to little Jesus. The boy however does not take notice of them but rather wants to get hold of a box old man Joseph presents to him. In vain, mother Mary holds Jesus too tight.

Wydyz's presentation breathes the divinely ordered society of the Middle Ages. But there is trouble ahead with the peasants' revolt just outside Freiburg's city gates in the summer of 1513 although the executions of the apprehended insurgents at the beginning of December perturbed the celebration of the consecration of the Minster high choir only slightly. But this dissonance is only a forerunner of Luther's protest against the abusiveness in the Catholic Church in the form of his 95 Theses in 1517; another 500th anniversary is coming up. Well, it is all history, but it is history that shaped the Christian world. Let us admire Wydyz's masterpiece instead.

I wish all my friends and followers of my blog a

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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