SYRLIN, Jörg the Elder
(b. 1420s, Ulm, d. 1481, Ulm)

Choir stalls

1469-74
Oak
Münster, Ulm

In the years preceding his work on the high altar of Ulm's Münster, Jörg Syrlin the Elder lined its choir with an elaborate set of wooden stalls. Eighty-nine seats are arranged in two rows on the north and south sides. Beyond the typical drolleries and ornamentation of the chairs, ninety busts of male and female saints, sibyls, Old Testament figures and classical thinkers adorn the benches , the wall revetments and the overhanging canopies. The north side depicts men, while women (plus Sts Luke and Cosmas) occupy the south wall. For such a vast undertaking, Syrlin was aided by a team of sculptors and joiners. At the end of each group of stalls are fully carved busts of sibyls (south) and scholars (north).

The choir stalls embody the collective wisdom and faith of classical, Jewish and Christian people.