Jacobs: German Painted Triptychs of the Fifteenth Century: Blurring the Boundaries

German Painted Triptychs of the Fifteenth Century: Blurring the Boundaries

This book project explores key aspects of German fifteenth-century triptychs through a thematic approach based on the concept of the boundary.  My focus on the boundary derives from the nature of the triptych format itself, since the triptych structure, in which three panels are hinged together, creates built-in boundaries between center and wings, and between exterior and interior.  While the chapters in this book do consider these physical boundaries between panels that are intrinsic to the format, they also expand the conception of boundaries to consider how triptychs engage with a variety of boundaries:  those created by frames (both actual and pictorial), as well as those between media (painting and sculpture), between regions (Cologne and the Netherlands), and between representation and reality.  In so doing, this book offers new ways of understanding both formal and iconographic elements of German fifteenth-century painted triptychs – while also providing new insights into the relation between German triptychs and their more famous Netherlandish counterparts.

The book's four main chapters will be arranged roughly chronologically, with each chapter taking a single triptych (or small group of triptychs) as the starting point for its engagement with a particular thematic focus.  The planned table of contents is as follows: Introduction: the state of the research, overview of German fifteenth-century triptychs; Chapter 1. Framed Boundaries: Conrad von Soest and the role of the frame in Westphalian triptychs;  Chapter 2. Media Boundaries: The Master of the Tegernsee Altar (Gabriel Angler) and the role of grisaille in German triptychs; Chapter 3. Regional Boundaries: Rogier van der Weyden's Columba Altarpiece and relations between Netherlandish and Cologne Triptychs;  Chapter 4. Metaphysical Boundaries: The Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece and relations between representation and reality; and Epilogue: the triptych in sixteenth-century Germany

Projektmitarbeiter ZI