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German Renaissance - Examples

( Originally Published 1921 )


Heidelberg Castle (A.D. 15311612) (p. 653) well exemplifies different periods of the Renaissance in the various additions to the Mediaeval castle (p. 653 B). The general design suffers from over-ornamentation. The facades to the court have elaborately carved string courses with an Order to each storey, while somewhat coarse symbolical statuary forms throughout the most distinguishing feature of the design. There is a great watch tower (A.D. 153141) and an irregular court round which are grouped the Renaissance buildings (p. 653 A). The Saalbau (A.D. 1549) in the north-east corner shows Gothic features mingled with those of the incoming Renaissance (p. 653 D). The Heinrichsbau (A.D. 155663) on the east is interesting, even in its ruined state, for, with its, picturesque facade of superimposed Ionic and Corinthian pilasters and half-columns, two-light windows, and niches with symbolic statues, it shows the close union of architecture and sculpture (pp. 653 c, 659 A, C). The Friedrichsbau (A.D. 1601-7), on the north side, is slightly more developed in character and is also ornately treated with niches containing statues of the Counts Palatine (pp. 653 D, 659 B), surmounted by two picturesque gables.

The Gewandhaus, Brunswick (A.D. 1590) (p. 655 B), has an eastern facade in the Renaissance style. An arcade of three. centred arches is surmounted by three storeys of Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite three-quarter columns, and above rises an immense gable of four storeys of Hermes pilasters, so much used in Elizabethan architecture, framed in by the typical side scrolls of the stepped gables of the period.

The Rathhaus Portico, Cologne (A.D. 1571) (p. 654 A), is a fine two-storeyed structure in a more than usually refined style, in which an arcade of semicircular arches with detached Corinthian columns is surmounted on the first storey by pointed arches, while Gothic tradition is also evident in the " rib and panel " vault within.

The Rathhaus, Lemgo, with mullioned windows and scrolled gables, and the Town Hall, Solothurn (A.D. 155o), with pilasters and entablature to each storey, are other characteristic buildings.

The Pellerhaus, Nuremberg (A.D. 1605) (p. 655), is one of the finest Renaissance buildings in that famous city. The rusticated lower part is surmounted by two storeys with pilasters and by a large gable in stepped stages finished off with scroll pinnacles and an ornamented centre-piece in which Hermes pilasters support a segmental pediment and statue. The court (p. 655 D) shows the combination of the Italian arcade with the large windows suitable to Northern Europe.

The Rathhaus, Altenburg (A.D. 1562) (p. 655 A), an upstanding building, has plain facades with a beautiful angle oriel, and main roof hipped back with a three-storeyed dormer. An octagonal stair-tower with clock completes the group.

The Rathhaus, Heilbronn (A.D. 153596) (p. 654 n), is a quaint building showing Gothic influence, with its arcade of stumpy columns enclosing a market, and side steps leading to the upper storeys ; while a central panel bears the signs of the zodiac and a clock with figures and a bell ; the steep roof has three storeys of dormer windows and an open turret.

The Gateway, Halberstadt (A.D. 1552), the Castle, Stuttgart (A.D. 1553), the Rathhaus, Leipzig (A.D. 1556), the Zeughaus, Danzig (A.D. 1605), the Stadtweinhaus, Munster (A.D. 1615), and the Zwinger Palace, Dresden (A.D. 1711), are picturesque Renaissance buildings.


There are, as in France, few important churches of the early period, as the Mediaeval churches were still sufficient for a population depleted by the " Thirty Years' War " (p. 651). The new Protestant community, too, utilised existing churches, while the Catholics had no necessity to replace the churches thus lost. The Renaissance consequently largely found its ecclesiastical expression in church fittings, such as fonts, screens, pulpits, and monuments.

The Marienkirche, Wolfenbiittel (A.D. 160823) (p. 656 A), is a curious transitional jumble of Gothic and Renaissance features, such as the doorway flanked by Ionic columns, tall three-light Gothic windows with elongated Corinthian columns as mullions, buttresses with Doric capitals, and two-storeyed gables faced with the Orders.

The Church, Buckeburg (A.D. 1613) (p. 656 B, c), has a fantastic and ornate facade with a curious mixture of Renaissance doorway, Gothic windows, and central clock surrounded by elaborate scroll-work, surmounted by a balustrade and bell-turret. The interior has Corinthian columns supporting a pointed arcade and " rib and panel " vault.

S. Michael, Munich (A.D. 1582), Salzburg Cathedral (A.D. 1614-28), and the Neumunster, Wurzburg (A.D. 171119), are typical examples of Renaissance ecclesiastical architecture.

The Frauenkirche, Dresden (A.D. 172645), is notable as the product of the new-born desire to secure an uninterrupted internal space for preaching purposes. It is 140 ft. square, with a dome of stone, 75 ft. in diameter, resting on eight piers.

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