German Renaissance Architecture

16 Jun
Augsburg Rathaus (1615-20) Bremen Rathaus Leipzig Rathaus  (begun 1556)
Molsheim Rathaus Paderborn Rathaus Posen Rathaus
Marienkirche, Wolfenbuettel  (1607) Schloss Heidelberg (1556) Schloss Aschaffenburg (1605-14)
Schloss Stuttgart Schloss Wilhelmsburg Schloss Wolfenbuettel
St Michael’s, Munich (1583) Hofkirche, Neuburg Micovna Belvedere, Prague.
     
The Renaissance reached Germany and Austria rather late. In Austria it followed the classical tradition more closely than in Germany, where native architects usually derived their inspiration from the same Flemish copybooks that guided Elizabethan and Jacobean architects in England; so that German buildings of the late 16th and early 17th centuries resemble contemporary English examples. They include the town halls of Augsburg (1615-20), Bremen, Leipzig (begun 1556), Molsheim, Paderborn, and Posen; the Marienkirche at Wolfenbuettel (begun 1607), additions to the Schloss at Heidelberg (1556), the Schloss at Aschaffenburg (1605-14), and those at Stuttgart and Wilhelmsburg. More Italian in appearance are the Schloss at Wolfenbuettel; St Michael’s church, Munich (begun 1583); the Hofkirche at Neuburg; the Belvedere and the Micovna in the royal castle at Prague.

The German Renaissance, which originated with the Italian Renaissance in Italy, started spreading among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries. This was a result of German artists who had travelled to Italy to learn more and become inspired by the Renaissance movement.

Many areas of the arts and sciences were influenced, notably by the spread of humanism to the various German states and principalities. There were many advances made in the development of new techniques in the fields of architecture, the arts, and the sciences.

One of the most important German humanists was Konrad Celtis (1459-1508). Celtis studied at Cologne and Heidelberg, and later travelled throughout Italy collecting Latin and Greek manuscripts. Heavily influenced by Tacitus, he used the Germania to introduce German history and geography. Eventually he devoted his time to poetry, in which he praised Germany. It is arguable that Celtis was a significant figure in the Northern Renaissance movement and helped bring what had started in Italy to Germany.

Another figure who greatly contributed to the successes of the German Renaissance was Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) who studied in various places in Italy and later taught Greek. This German humanist and scholar began studying Hebrew to search for religious and cultural truths. Through his study of Hebrew and Judaism, he aimed to purify Christianity. However, the papacy did not realize his motives and considered him a heretic. It is safe to say that Reuchlin, was an important humanist who contributed to the German Renaissance.

By far the most famous German Renaissance-era artist is Albrecht Dürer who is well-known for his woodcuts, printmaking and drawings, and sculptures.

Important architecture of this period are especially the Landshut Residence, the castle in Heidelberg and the Town Hall in Augsburg. St Michael in Munich is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps.

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