CATHEDRALS AND CASTLES OF THE SEA: SHIPS, ALLEGORY AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE IN PRE-REFORMATION NORTHERN EUROPE

  • Achim Timmermann
Keywords: visual allegory, nautical allegory, Ship of Saint Ursula, Ship of Fools, civic seals, Guillaume de Deguileville, Winand Ort von Steeg, Sebastian Brant, Johannes Lichtenberger, Joseph Grünpeck, anticlericalism, astrological prognostication

Abstract

Revolving around the image of the Ship of the Church (navis
ecclesiae), this article explores the making of visual allegory in the
century between the end of the Great Schism (1378–1417) and the
beginning of the Protestant Reformation (1517 ff.). Of particular
interest here are those images in which the crucifix has been grafted
onto the mast and sail-yard of a ship (antenna crucifixi). The material
is placed in conversation with contemporary trends in the crafting
of complex allegories and new developments in both ship design
(most notably the introduction of the carrack into northern European
waters) and the visual representation of ships. The focus is mostly
on the German-speaking sphere, though select images originating
in the Italian peninsula are also taken into consideration.

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Author Biography

Achim Timmermann

Achim Timmermann is Associate Professor at the Department
of the History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
where he teaches medieval and northern Renaissance art and
architecture. His current research interests include the pictorial
and architectural stage-management of the body of Christ, the
role of public monuments in medieval civic and rural life, and
late medieval allegory. He is author of several monographs,
including Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ,
c. 1270–1600 (2009), Memory and Redemption: Public Monuments
and the Making of Late Medieval Landscape (2017), and of over forty
articles on various aspects of medieval and Renaissance visual
and architectural culture.

Published
2019-12-30