Mustari, Louis Frank, 1930-
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Art
The bronze panels of the main portal of the Cathedral of Augsburg are the subject of this study. Only two indepth studies of the doors have been done In the last fifty years and they present contrasting views. Through a reinvestigation of the studies done of doors in general and of those of Augsburg in particular, a synthesis of the research on the medieval door was compiled. The study Is divided into three main parts, each dealing with a specific aspect of the Augsburg doors: Part I. Literary references, iconographic description, and attempted dating in relation to style; Part 2. Technique: A discussion of the medieval craft of bronze casting as it is to be seen on the doors of Augsburg; Part 3. The eschatological symbolism of the doors: The panels of the Augsburg doors are discussed in their symbolic function and in relation to Jewish and Early Christian tombs and doors and the eschatological function of Baptism. The discussion concludes that the doors of the Cathedral of Augsburg cannot be dated exactly; however, a date of 1050 to 1065 is suggested. Furthermore, it concludes that the doors are not the union of two sets of doors, but one set of doors of which the panels of the right wing are in order while those of the left wing have been rearranged. The doors if slightly rearranged, present a unified symbolic programme. The lowest rows depict the cycle of the seasons in which man's fleeting life takes part, while above that, the struggle against the temptations of sin is the dominating theme. The medieval Christian was absolved of his original sin by the sacrament of Baptism, but it did not protect him against further temptations. He was to be on constant guard to protect himself from sin. This is the symbolic message of the panels of Augsburg. Both the Early Christian tomb and church doors and the later Romanesque church doors of the Cathedral of Augsburg symbolically present man’s hopes and struggles to attain a place among the chosen at the Last Judgment.
Achilles, Rolf, "The bronze doors of Augsburg : historical, technical, and symbolic analysis" (1973). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 5346.
v, 72, xvii pages
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