German panel painting of the late middle ages

Examination of the paintings at the Germanisches Natonalmuseum from the perspective of art history and art technoloy

Project duration: 2013-16
Project sponsorship: Leibniz Association

An extensive research project, sponsored by the Leibniz Association, on German panel painting of the late Middle Ages launched the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in April 2013. The goal is the scientific examination of the museum's holdings of around 250 paintings from the 13th to the 15th century. The collection is one of the largest and most important of its kind. The initial phase of the project concentrates on Franconian paintings.

The paintings are being investigated by a research team of art historians and experts in art technology. The team studies each work's technique and historical context, as well as changes of the original appearance that have resulted from ageing and reworkings. The artistic features, iconography and traditions of representation are also scrutinised. On the basis of this new information, it is possible to critically view and correct the previous art-historical classification of each painting in terms of dating, regional designation and attribution to an artist. The clarification of acquisition history, provenance and original location provides an insight into the former purpose of the works, which today are removed from their functional context. The interdisciplinary approach to these works yields new information on the role of the images as bearers of meaning, on religious practices in the late Middle Ages and on production conditions in workshops of the time.

The project is making an important contribution to research on painting in the German-speaking reagions prior to 1500 and will provide a new basis for future scholarship. The results will be published in a collection catalogue. The first volume, on the museum's Franconian paintings, is scheduled to appear in 2017. A supplementary online presentation is also planned.

Find out more:

The Paintings   
Art-Technology Analysis with the latest Methods  


Dr. Daniel Hess (Head of the Project and Head of the Collection Painting and Glas-Painting till 1800, Art Historian)
Dr. Katja von Baum (Project-Coordination, Art Technologist)
PD Dr. Esther Meier (Art Historian) 
Dr. Beate Fücker (Art Technologist) 
Lisa Eckstein (Art Technologist)
Oliver Mack (Head of the Institute for Art Technology and Conservation, Art Technologist)
Dr. Joshua Waterman (Art Historian)
Judith Hentschel M.A. (Art Historian)
Susanne Wagner (student assistant)
Dr. Dagmar Hirschfelder (Art Historian and Head of the Project till June 2017)

Scientific Infrastructure

Collection of Painting up to 1800 and Glass-Painting, Dr. Daniel Hess (Head of the Collection)
Institute for Art Technology and Conservation, Oliver Mack (Head of the Institute), Martin Tischler (X-Ray), Markus Raquet und Ilona Stein (RFA-Analysis)
Department for Cultural and Museum Informatics, Siegfried Krause (Head of the Department), Mark Fichtner (Scientific Infrastructure)
Photographs: Georg Janßen und Monika Runge 
Scientific Management and Marketing, Dr. Andrea Langer (Head of the Department)

Further objects of research

Tod und Krönung der Hl. Klara
Nürnberger Maler

Hans Pleydenwurff, Hl. Dominikus und hl. Thomas von Aquin
Malerei auf Tannenholz, um 1460/65

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