Veit Stoss in Relief: The practitioner's view
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Ezra, Ruth Madeline
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CitationEzra, Ruth Madeline. 2020. Veit Stoss in Relief: The practitioner's view. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation offers a new reading of the multi-medial oeuvre of Nuremberg artist Veit Stoss (c. 1447–1533) and a new model for its reception. Eschewing the chronology of a traditional monograph, the study instead groups interpretations of Stoss’s works around common sculptural operations (cutting, hollowing, turning, holding the surface) and formal principles (ex uno lapide, concavity, axiality, planarity). It composes a portrait of Stoss as a sculptural thinker that takes the workshop as its primary setting; interpretations proceed from a practitioner’s stance rather than from the viewpoint of a patron or religious supplicant. To this end, the study’s three main sections consider Stoss’s work in dialogic relation to the output of other sculptors active in late-medieval Franconia circa 1500: the stonework of Adam Kraft, the brass casts of the Vischer foundry, and the limewood reliefs of Tilman Riemenschneider.
In lieu of treatises or other written expressions of sculptural thinking to survive from the period, this dissertation reconstructs a mode of trained perception, a Denkstil, from the extant works themselves. It retrieves – for the reader’s benefit – a “practitioner’s formalism” once held in common by sculptors active in the late-medieval German-speaking lands. On the one hand, the study demonstrates the ways in which theories of relief and meta-commentaries on the sculptural medium were embodied in the carvings and casts of Franconian sculptors. On the other, it explores how devices born in the sculptor’s workshop migrated from three to two dimensions and how Stoss’s prints, paintings, and drawings – too often dismissed in celebrations of his carving – came to communicate thinking tools forged at his bench far beyond it.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368964
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