Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 01

Chapel-Crown from the Goslar Workshop around 1480

Executed in the last third of the 19th century

A rare and intri­cate­ly craft­ed Chapel Crown based on a design inspired by the Goslar Chapel Crown”, which is cur­rent­ly housed in the Goslar Town Hall. The orig­i­nal chan­de­lier dates back to around 1480 and was cre­at­ed in a work­shop in Goslar.

The chapel crown was like­ly orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed for the Goslar Cathe­dral. More details about this can be found below.

Elab­o­rate­ly hand-forged from iron, the chan­de­lier fea­tures a chapel-like cen­tral struc­ture metic­u­lous­ly adorned with Goth­ic orna­men­ta­tion and archi­tec­tur­al style in every detail.
With­in the open chapel, enclosed by four main pil­lars embell­ished with sym­bol­ic ser­pent heads at their ends, and sur­round­ed by cross­beams, stands the ful­ly sculpt­ed fig­ure of Mary with her child.
The wood­en-carved and bronzed fig­ure of Mary is adorned with a grand crown, her robe cas­cad­ing in triple-tiered folds, extend­ing down to the ground with bowl and tubu­lar folds. In her right arm, she car­ries the clothed infant Jesus, who holds the globe in his right hand.

Sur­round­ing the chapel-like cen­ter are a total of eight chan­de­lier arms across two lev­els, rich­ly adorned with exquis­ite­ly wrought cross-shaped foliage. The crown arms, sit­u­at­ed both below and above the chapel, are curved in shape and embell­ished with a ful­ly sculpt­ed acorn, sym­bol­iz­ing the promise of God, as a fin­ish­ing touch. The intri­cate­ly designed drip pans are craft­ed in a crown shape and con­sti­tute a dom­i­nant ele­ment of the chan­de­lier. The low­er ter­mi­na­tion fea­tures a ful­ly sculpt­ed lion’s head with styl­ized mane and a pro­filed forged, mov­able han­dle in its mouth.

The chan­de­lier is crowned by an epis­co­pal fig­ure, ful­ly sculpt­ed in wood and bronzed, fea­tur­ing a mitre, an epis­co­pal staff in the left hand, and the Book of Rules in the right hand. As the upper­most ele­ment, a large forged and ornate­ly adorned ceil­ing bowl serves as the crown­ing piece.

An absolute­ly rare chapel crown, metic­u­lous­ly hand-forged with mas­ter­ful qual­i­ty in the 19th cen­tu­ry. Chan­de­liers of this type are gen­er­al­ly scarce.

Sig­nif­i­cant exam­ples, besides the Goslar chan­de­lier, are found in places such as the Augs­burg Cathe­dral, the St. Andrew’s Church in Hal­ber­stadt, and the Parish Church in Stans, Switzer­land. It’s also worth men­tion­ing the splen­did­ly craft­ed pati­nat­ed bronze chan­de­lier from the Nurem­berg St. Lorenz Church, designed and exe­cut­ed in 1489 by bronze cast­er and sculp­tor Vis­ch­er, Peter the Elder, Nurem­berg (14601529).

In his 1967 book Lichter Leucht­en im Abend­land: Zweitausend Jahre Beleuch­tungskör­p­er (Lights Shin­ing in the Occi­dent: Two Thou­sand Years of Light­ing Objects),” Kurt Jar­muth won­der­ful­ly describes the his­to­ry of light bear­ers, includ­ing the ori­gins of the chapel crown. Below is an excerpt from Jar­muth’s book about chapel crowns and their cre­ation, where he also writes about the Goslar crown: 

The chapel-crown:
The crown of Stans is one of the most mature spec­i­mens of this genus. The char­ac­ter­is­tic name is giv­en by the chapel-like con­struc­tion of the mid­dle gives it its name, in which all parts are tak­en from the build­ing ele­ments and the orna­men­ta­tion of the great archi­tec­ture. This is the basics of Goth­ic crafts­man­ship, that it did not devel­op its own motifs, but lived entire­ly from the rep­e­ti­tion of the archi­tec­tur­al style. This could be con­sid­ered a weak­ness, but from a dif­fer­ent point of view it is the sign of strength. The time press­ing for direc­tion and move­ment in all expres­sions of art had gained its daz­zling rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the high cathe­drals.
Grow­ing from the low flight of the hous­es, they were the focal point of a ris­ing street row or a sharp-angled square. The cityscape of the Goth­ic trad­ing venues received the appeal of great­ness through them. He still cap­tures us today, for exam­ple, when we looked at the Flem­ish cities of Ghent, Bruges or Antwerp (Fig. 64). In their time, oth­er art divi­sions could not counter any­thing equiv­a­lent to these sub­lime mon­u­ments of archi­tec­ture. And they did­n’t want it either.
It was their task to join the Queen Archi­tec­ture at her price.
As an exam­ple of such a cre­ative inter­ac­tion, we can con­sid­er the image of a sil­ver mon­strance (Fig. 65). Their con­struc­tion runs accord­ing to the rule book of great art and yet pre­serves an indi­vid­ual hand­writ­ing. The same was true of the chan­de­liers, which, accord­ing to the same view, cre­at­ed the airy con­struc­tion of an open chapel as an orna­men­tal cas­ing or taber­na­cle in which a Mary or a saint was enthroned. The sus­pen­sion of the crown was con­nect­ed to this chapel as the cen­tral axis. The crown arms, which start­ed below the chapel, received an arch shape made of flat met­al and looked with their orna­ments as if cut out with the fret­saw, hav­ing a tech­nique that will be dis­cussed in more detail in a lat­er para­graph.
The Goth­ic crowns were the most­ly cross-shaped foliage. Sig­urd Erixon assumes as an expla­na­tion that it is a styl­ized wine foliage, which togeth­er with the fig­ures of saints is based on the bib­li­cal para­ble of the Wein­berg should point out. An impor­tant style ele­ment on the lights is the drop bowl. It has an angu­lar bowl dish with a leaf edge attached to the low­er edge. Invert­ed, the struc­ture would resem­ble a crown. Erich Mey­er notes that the leaf wreath under the shell con­tracts the tighter the lat­er the crown was cre­at­ed. The attach­ment of the can­dles also needs to be men­tioned. With the chapel crowns, which were used in church­es and town halls, drop shells with thorns to put on the can­dles can usu­al­ly be observed.
Can­dle grom­mets, on the oth­er hand, are pre­dom­i­nant in the genus of shaft crowns that is still to be dis­cussed. An impor­tant exam­ple of such a chapel crown is locat­ed in the Regens­burg Town Hall (Fig. 83), a repli­ca hangs in the Nation­al Muse­um in Munich.
In the town hall of Goslar there is a dupli­cate spec­i­men with fig­ures, the upper fig­ure rep­re­sents a bish­op (Fig. 67). As Gün­ther Griep has not­ed, this piece comes from a Goslar work­shop.
A very rich cre­ation of this type hangs in the Augs­burg Cathe­dral (Fig. 68). It takes up as a motif the idea of let­ting the math­e­mat­i­cal­ly con­struct­ed tow­er of a cathe­dral grow out of a dense, nature-rein­form­ing bush of the arms. It seems as if it should be depict­ed how the clear divine thought ris­es from the frizzy world. It is believed that this crown was made in the area of Dinant.
The artis­tic per­for­mance and pro­nounced solem­ni­ty of the larg­er Goth­ic chan­de­lier types, as we get to know them in the chapel crown and in the bas­ket crown dis­cussed below, has so far been too lit­tle appre­ci­at­ed in art his­to­ry. The inte­gra­tion of these lumi­naires into the arts and crafts and into the field of util­i­ty equip­ment has very wrong­ly led to a sec­ondary eval­u­a­tion of their artis­tic work. With their best pieces, they deserved to be placed close to pure art. The exam­ples from Augs­burg and Goslar show how the design­ers of the lumi­naires, like the builders of the places of wor­ship, were anx­ious to point the view­er to a super­or­di­nate world. They made use of the del­i­cate archi­tec­ture of the pil­lars, orna­men­tal gable and fialen and sub­or­di­nat­ed them­selves exter­nal­ly to great art, as the crafts­men and artists of all dis­ci­plines did with this unique expres­sion of their time. But they cre­at­ed a pecu­liar, thought-filled and artis­tic image. The cen­tral axis of their chan­de­liers, shaped into a taber­na­cle, was not only the loca­tion of a Mary with the child or a patron saint. The rein­force­ment to a tran­scen­dent­ed appear­ance of the pious image float­ing above man led them through the fur­ther com­po­nent avail­able to them, the arti­fi­cial light. This radi­at­ed from the can­dles that stood around the hang­ing chapel. The cal­cu­lat­ed effect of light must not be dis­re­gard­ed in the eval­u­a­tion of a chan­de­lier, as it may be miss­ing, for exam­ple, in the eval­u­a­tion of stained glass. It is not enough to reg­is­ter only the mate­r­i­al forms of a can­dle­stick in art his­to­ry. First togeth­er with the flu­idum of the Light can be judged on the suc­cess or fail­ure of a work of art that was intend­ed for noth­ing less than to hov­er over a con­gre­ga­tion or a coun­cil meet­ing as a sym­bol of the pres­ence of God. 

The Goslar Cathe­dral is the for­mer col­le­giate church of St. Simon and St. Jude in Goslar. It was built between 1040 and 1050, was a com­po­nent of the Goslar Impe­r­i­al Palace dis­trict, and was dis­man­tled between 1819 and 1822.

Today, only the north­ern cathe­dral vestibule remains.

The term Dom” here does­n’t car­ry the mod­ern mean­ing of cathe­dral” but rather the old­er mean­ing of min­ster.”

Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 03a
Chapel-Crown Chandelier height 120 cm; overall height 148 cm, Diameter: 73 cm
Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 02
Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 06
Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 05
Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 08
Gotischer Kirchenleuchter19 Jhr 07
IMG 0686
Literature Images Upper image from the book, page 83, figure 67; lower image, Homage Hall of the Goslar Town Hall around 1520
Huldigungssaal 2