Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Architecture Moment: Mariendom at Zwickau

The Mariendom in Zwickau was built from 1506 to 1536 as part of a wave of new church building at the extreme end of the Gothic era in the highlands of Saxony. This region benefited from several economic trends: the growth of major mining activity in the area and the solidification of the ducal state of Saxony into a vibrant and successful Renaissance principality. The proximate cause of Zwickau’s prosperity was the 1470 opening of the great silver mines at Schneeburg, 17 kilometers southeast of Zwickau. More politically, the growing economy of Saxony was encouraged by the stabilization of ducal Saxony.

Dr. Norbert Nussbaum, in his seminal German Gothic Church Architecture, links Zwickau’s Mariendom with Rochlitz’s St. Kunigunde, Mittweida’s St. Mary and Leipzig’s St. Nikolai.

The cathedral contains the above fine altarpiece by Michael Wolgemut and his workshop, an excellent early Renaissance pulpit (c. 1538) and an astonishing double staircase.


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