16 October 2016

Köln, 14-16 Oktober 2016 - Ecclesiastical Metal Work

Unlike previous years, when I made comments each day as we travelled, this year it will be much more limited. We are here in Köln to see and relax before moving on to Berlin, where we will do more relaxing and seeing. An extra added bonus was having my cousin Günter Ortlieb join us in Köln for the first few days of the trip.  There was lots of wine, food, and conversation.

On Saturday, Günter had to deal with my proclivities for all things ecclesiastical, so it began with a brief sweep around der Dom (without entering) where we ended up at the studio of Egino Weinert. He lost his hand in an explosion during the war, but made his art with one hand.  He died several years ago, but his widow still operates the foundry and studio in Köln where right across the street his daughter Giselle has her own studio. His work graces most of the important churches in Germany, and his metal work is evident either by its presence or by its influence everywhere.

This standing pyx with enamel work and a smoky quartz is an excellent example of his work.  So on Monday we will return where I'm looking at some enameled morse clips for a cope and perhaps a piece of glass work. 

On Sunday we made our way to Antoninerkirche, an Evanglische church close to the Kolumba Museum (which we are saving for Monday afternoon). Our visit there took on the nature of a pilgrimage for me in that I have always wanted to see Der Engel, a magnificent war memorial by Ernst Barlach. There are other works by him there, and the metal work and stone work is really quite beautiful in its stark reality. The medieval Taufstein is topped with a modern cover that is a foil to the simplicity of the stonework below.

There are two ambos in the chancel, but the one, modeled on the typical eagle-bearing-the-book lectern is by Rudolf Peer (1984), and is a stunning piece of work.

There are other Barlach pieces in the church, a seated Christ, and a crucifix above the baptismal font, but it is the angel hovering over a memorial to those who died in the First World War, that draws in visitors and tourists. There is a mood here of grief and quiet, with the memorial situated in a small apse off to the side of the chancel. A cross from Coventry Cathedral is placed there as well. 

My cousin observes how the nave is suffused with light, the ancient glass having been replaced by modern pieces after the war. It is a contrast to the Barlach memorial and the sheer weight of the angel. The room is a delight to enter. It invites both wonder and prayer.

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