(active 1240-1250 in Naumburg)

Choir screen with the Crucifixion

c. 1245
Cathedral, Naumburg

Inside a Gothic cathedral, the nave was usually separated from the choir by a large stone choir screen, called a 'pulpitum' or 'jubé', which excluded the lay public from the liturgy performed behind it. The screens at Chartres and Amiens were later removed, but at Naumburg a superbly carved example from the middle of the thirteenth century has remained intact.

Scenes from the Passion of Christ are carved in relief across the upper level; but it is the life-size figures over the projecting gabled porch that serves as the entrance to the choir that are most striking. Traditionally the three figures of the Crucifixion - Christ flanked by the mourning Mary and St John - were placed atop the screen, but here they are brought down to the level of the worshippers. The anguished Virgin turns to the beholder as if to say "Look!'", while on the other side St John provides another point of emotional entry into the scene, drawing viewers closer to Christ.

The statue of Christ stands at the threshold between the priest's and the lay person's space, allowing the clergy almost literally to pass throiugh his body as they enter the sanctuary. Inside, the walls are decorated with large figures, after the manner of the Ste Chapelle in Paris. The figures are secular benefactors of the cathedral.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.