MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, German
(active around 1250)
Coronation of the Virginc. 1250
The relief is on the East Tympanum of the South Porch of Strassbourg Cathedral.
At the beginning of the 13th century there is a relaxation in style of the architectural sculptures. The faces fill out and the features become much more natural and human. In addition, the statues appear rather more as works of art in their own right and less as architectural adjuncts. From the middle of the century these development culminated in the great and noble sculptures generally regarded as true Gothic. Though still owing its origins to France and often to French or French-trained masters, Gothic had become common to the whole of Europe. The style was undoubtedly influenced by the concious adoption of classical mosdels - perhaps the clearest example of this is at Reims - but for all the naturalism the whole movement is dominated by a sense of dignity and idealization, which seems to arise rather from the search for an almost unattainable nobility of character presented by the ideal model, than from technical, artistic stylization. It is the spiritual content which marks the Gothic period, quite as much as the aesthetic presentation.
The developments which took place in the figure sculptures are to be found in the reliefs too, though these, curiously enough, show a much more conciously aesthetic handling, as in the decorative arrangement of narrative scenes, or of decorative reliefs like the signs of the zodiac within "gothic" frames at Amiens.