Art quiz archive
Art quiz December 2008
Which personification is depicted on this stained-glass painting?
Fortuna, the Latin word for luck, was the Roman goddess of luck and chance. To indicate the instability of luck, Fortune is often shown standing on a globe or balancing on a wheel. One of her many attributes is a billowed sail, a reminder of wind’s inconstancy. Since the early Middle Ages the goddess is usually associated more with positive aspects, namely luck and success, than with inconstancy and fickleness.
Art quiz September 2008
Which treaty allies the town of Rottweil, Germany, donor of this panel in 1550, to the Swiss Confederation? When was it signed and which recognizable signs of the alliance are worn by both the halberdiers?
The “Eternal Alliance” treaty of 1519. The symbols indicating this are the golden cross from the Rottweil coat of arms on the chest armor of the right halberdier and the Swiss dagger and costume worn by the left warrior.
Art quiz Juni 2008
What is the name of the well-known Munich genre painter who once owned this medieval stained-glass window, depictions of which he included in several of his oil paintings?
Eduard von Grützner
Eduard von Grützner was, along with Carl Spitzweg and Franz von Defregger, Munich’s most distinguished genre painter in the second half of the 19th century. He made monastic life the center of his pictorial world which is why he went down in history as the “monk painter”. Grützner was an ardent and major collector, initially favoring Late Gothic and early Renaissance finds from Germany. He almost always added old objects to his larger compositions, mostly from his own collection of antiques which also included stained-glass paintings. Here we show two examples: the painting “Der Altertumsliebhaber” (The Antiquities Collector) that Grützner painted in 1880, in which a Saint Christopher window (now at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg) can be seen in the background, and “Seiner Eminenz zu Ehren” (In Honor of His Eminence) from 1889 (privately owned).
Art quiz March 2008
Which legend is depicted here, and what is the name of the deadly, snake-haired head?
Perseus, carrying the head of Medusa, liberates Andromeda.
Iconography of the scene
“The ‘March window’ shows a combination of two principle heroic deeds of Perseus, a hero in Greek mythology. In his left hand he is carrying the head of the Gorgon Medusa, a trophy from an earlier deed, whose fatal power of turning people into stone he will later use as a weapon (the pale blue, as it were ‘deathly pale’ color indicates that it is a severed head). With the sword held in his raised right hand he is about to slay the sea-monster (Ketos) gliding through the waves beneath him in order to rescue Princess Andromeda, seen in the background chained to a rock as a sacrifice to Ketos.”
The window shows motifs from the Perseus myth as told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (IV, 665ff), condensed into a single depiction. The main subject is the story of the rescue of Princess Andromeda by Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danae.
The saga of Perseus and Andromeda has often been a theme in the pictorial arts as well as in literature and music. The version or composition here originates from the painter, stained-glass painter and graphic artist Rudolf Münger (1862-1929). Stylistically the artist appears to have leanings towards the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement in England, a style characterized by breathtaking density and aesthetic beauty.
Hermann Wahlen, Rudolf Münger. Ein Berner Maler 1862-1929. Leben und Werk, Bern 1985.
Art quiz November 2007
To which group of artists in Basel did the painter of this stained-glass painting belong, and what was his name?
The artist’s name is Albert Müller (1897-1926) and he belonged to the Basel artists’ association called “Rot-Blau”.
Albert Müller is an important artist and advocate of expressionism. He worked as a painter, stained-glass painter, sculptor, draftsman and graphic artist, and was a friend of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. 1897: Born in Basel, Switzerland. 1913-17: Apprenticeship in stained-glass painting parallel to attending the general vocational school in Basel. 1923: Introduction to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and his work, the beginning of an intense friendship between the artists. 1924: Founded the Rot-Blau artists’ association together with Hermann Scherer and Paul Camenisch, later joined by Werner Neuhaus. 1924-26: Numerous stays with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Frauenkirch. Work on paintings, drawings and sculptures. 1926: Death in Orbino, Switzerland.
Beat Stutzer: Albert Müller und die Gruppe Rot-Blau. Oeuvrekatalog Schweizer Künstler 9, Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Basel, Munich 1981
Expressionismus aus den Bergen. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Philipp Bauknecht, Jan Wiegers und die Gruppe Rot-Blau. Catalogue for the exhibition running from 27th April to 19th October 2007 in the Kunstmuseum Bern
Art quiz September 2007
Who is the artist of this stained-glass window?
Johan Thorn-Prikker (1868-1932).
The Fish Window was made in 1928 in connection with the important commission for the windows in the medieval St. George’s Church in Cologne.
For more information (in German) about this Dutch artist who was a trailblazer for 20th century German stained-glass painting, log on to: Wikipedia.
Unfortunately, there is little or no relevant literature in English about this artist. An extensive literature list can be found in the latest exhibition catalogue entitled “…Mit der Sonne selbst malen… Johan Thorn-Prikker und der Aufbruch der Moderne in der Glasmalerei” (Painting with the sun itself… Johan Thorn-Prikker and the Awakening of Modernism in Stained-Glass Painting), Deutsches Glasmalerei-Museum Linnich, 19th May to 23rd September 2007.
The catalogue can be ordered from the museum shop, see www.glasmalerei-museum.de.
Art quiz May 2007
Which story is illustrated here?
Diana and Actaeon
The legend is recorded in the Third Book of the Metamorphoses (Met. 3:138-253) by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) and relates the fate of the young prince Actaeon who while hunting in the forest stole a glimpse of the goddess of the hunt and her nymphs bathing in the nude. As punishment, Diana turned Actaeon into a stag which was then torn to pieces by his own hounds.