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date: 27 February 2020

Sondergotiklocked

  • Jan Białostocki

Extract

[Ger.: ‘special Gothic’]. Term first used by some German art historians to describe Late Gothic German art, mostly architecture. In 1913 the German art historian Kurt Gerstenberg published Deutsche Sondergotik, in which he considered the Late Gothic style in architecture as the German version of Gothic. In his concept this German ‘special’ Gothic was chiefly characterized by the widespread use of the Hall church (Ger. Hallenkirche) in which the nave and the aisles are of equal height: therefore the chronological extent of Sondergotik was the same as that in which the hall-church type was used, that is c. 1350–1550.

Gerstenberg believed that if High Gothic were a French creation, Sondergotik was a German development, and that it paraded qualities that characterize German conceptions of architecture. He found ‘irrational’ features in the formal character of Sondergotik that he thought corresponded to the ‘irrationality’ of the German spirit in general. The substitution in many cases of the hall church for the basilica meant that in German architecture the clear articulation of space had been abandoned. In contrast to the earlier clearly defined spatial units, the interior was unified into a whole. In the German Late Gothic buildings described by Gerstenberg as representing ...

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