A Medievalist’s Gaze

Christian Visual Rhetoric in Modern German Memorials (1950–2000)

by Galit Noga-Banai (Author)
©2022 Monographs XX, 284 Pages
Series: German Visual Culture, Volume 10


«This book makes a strong case that memorials are embedded in local visual and historical traditions. While its comprehensive and detailed references make it a must-read for specialists, it will appeal not only to the many specialists working on memory and memorials, but also to general audiences interested in questions of visual culture and memorialization. Beautifully and engagingly written and illustrated.» (Professor Harold Marcuse, University of California, Santa Barbara)
This study offers an unconventional reading of modern and postmodern German memorials from a medievalist perspective. Beginning with a memorial for German soldiers in El Alamein and continuing with memorials for victims of the Nazis in Germany, the book challenges the visual differences between modern and medieval art and transforms the interactions between the two into six productive conversations. The examples discussed move from Christian themes or visual practice directly connected to medieval art in the surrounding local urban landscape, to secular or abstract projects that seem disconnected from premodern forms and formats. The wide variety of techniques, materials, iconography, layouts, and styles demonstrates that medievalism is a method of observation, one that can underscore the links between several works of art, offer a broader context, add layers of meaning, and explore relationships with nearby visual and social environments, physical and mental landscapes, conflicts and memories. The medieval association may also contribute to a project’s potential to arouse empathy and to stand the test of time and distance from the events it is meant to recall. The book’s medieval prism will afford the reader greater insight into these works of art and a better understanding of their contribution to modern and contemporary memory culture in Germany.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part I Looking Abroad
  • Chapter 1 The German Cemetery in El Alamein
  • Part II Looking Around
  • Chapter 2 The Memorial Fountain for the Synagogue at Lappenberg in Hildesheim
  • Chapter 3 The Way of the Cross in Nuremberg
  • Part III Looking through a Medieval Lens
  • Chapter 4 Places of Remembrance in Berlin’s Bavarian Quarter
  • Chapter 5 Stolpersteine: Addressing the Victim in Situ
  • Chapter 6 A Medievalist Guide in Kassel
  • Afterword
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Series index


Figure 1.1.El Alamein, German memorial (photo: author).

Figure 1.2.El Alamein, German memorial, plan (photo: Volksbund Archive).

Figure 1.3.Castle del Monte in Apulia, plan (after Carl A. Willemsen, “Die Bauten Kaiser Friedrich II. In Süditalien,” in Die Zeit der Staufer: Geschichte, Kunst, Kultur. Exhibition catalogue Stuttgart, Altes Schloss und Kunstgebäude, March 26–June 5, 1977, 4 vols., ed. Reiner Haussherr (Stuttgart: Württembergisches Landesmuseum, 1977), III: 143–63, Figure 20).

Figure 1.4.El Alamein, German memorial, detail, mosaic by Franz Grau (photo: author).

Figure 1.5.El Alamein, German memorial, detail, entrance (photo: author).

Figure 1.6.El Alamein, German memorial, detail, interior of the tower to the right of the entrance (photo: author).

Figure 1.7.El Alamein, German memorial, detail, courtyard (photo: author).

Figure 1.8.El Alamein, German memorial, detail, ambulatory (photo: author).

Figure 1.9.El Alamein, German memorial, detail of the mosaic by Franz Grau (photo: author).

Figure 1.10.El Alamein, German memorial, detail of the mosaic by Franz Grau (photo: author).

Figure 1.11.Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Icon of Saints Marina, Catherine, and Barbara (photograph courtesy of the Michigan-Princeton-Alexandria Expeditions to the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai).←ix | x→

Figure 1.12.Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Icon of George, Theodore Stratelates, and Demetrius (photograph courtesy of the Michigan-Princeton-Alexandria Expeditions to the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai).

Figure 1.13.Rome, Basilica of S. Clemente, apse mosaic (photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rom,_Basilika_San_Clemente,_Apsis_1.jpg>.

Figure 1.14.Ravenna, Basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe, apse mosaic (photo: Wikimedia Commons, public domain), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ravenna_BW_4.JPG>.

Figure 1.15.Florence, Baptistery of Saint John, detail of vault mosaic (photo: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore).

Figure 1.16.Franz Grau, sketch for the mosaic at El Alamein (photo: Volksbund Archive).

Figure 1.17.Ravenna, Mausoleum of Theodoric, detail of crux gemmata (photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0), <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Ravenna_Mausoleum_of_Theoderic_inside_top_cracked_roof_stone.jpg>.

Figure 2.1.Hildesheim, the synagogue at Lappenberg c.1900 (photo: Stadtarchiv Hildesheim, Bestand 952 Nr. 154–10).

Figure 2.2.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.3.Karl Winter, Theo Heiermann, and Jochem Pechau (photo courtesy of Clemes Hillebrand and Dorothea Heiermann).

Figure 2.4.Hildesheim, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Column of Bernward (photo: Florian Monheim, Dommuseum Hildesheim).←x | xi→

Figure 2.5.Hildesheim, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bernward’s doors (photo: Florian Monheim, Dommuseum Hildesheim).

Figure 2.6.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, detail, Heavenly Jerusalem (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.7.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, east side (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.8.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, south side (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.9.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, north side (photo: Wikipedia: Public Domain), <https://he.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%91%D7%A5:Hildesheim_Synagogenmahnmal_3.jpg>.

Figure 2.10.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, west side (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.11.Karl Winter’s wax model of the burning synagogue in Hildesheim (photo courtesy of Clemens Hillebrand and Dorothea Heiermann).

Figure 2.12.Hildesheim, memorial fountain at Lappenberg, detail, medallion showing Hildesheim on fire (photo: Gerhard Lutz).

Figure 2.13.Hildesheim, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Candelabrum of Bishop Hezilo (photo: Florian Monheim, Dommuseum Hildesheim).

Figure 2.14.Hildesheim, St. Mary’s Cathedral, view of the interior through Bernward’s doors (photo: Florian Monheim, Dommuseum Hildesheim).

Figure 2.15.Schwarzrheindorf, St. Mary and St. Clemens’ Church, fountain (photo: Annette Waibel).

Figure 2.16.Elmar Hillebrand, sketch of the curtains relief on the memorial fountain in Hildesheim (photo: AEK, Nachlass Elmar Hillebrand).

Figure 2.17.Cologne, Great St. Martin Church, fountain (photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:K%C3%B6ln_-_An_Gro%C3%9F_St_Martin_-_Tierbrunnen_07_ies.jpg>.

Figure 2.18.Heimstetten, Church of St. Peter, fountain (photo: Petra Kolb).

Figure 2.19.Hamburg, Laeiszhalle, Brahms Kobus (photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 2.5), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vier_Bildnisse_von_Johannes_Brahms_von_Th_Darboven_in_Hamburg-Neustadt.jpg>.

Figure 2.20.Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Codex Aureus from Echternach, front cover (photo: Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum).

Figure 3.1.Nuremberg, Nürnberger Kreuzweg (photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:N%C3%BCrnberger_Kreuzweg_Lorenzkirche_01.JPG>.

Figure 3.2.Nuremberg, Great Road under construction (photo: Museen der Stadt Nürnberg/Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände Ph-0755_09).

Figure 3.3.Nuremberg, Great Road (photo courtesy of Dr Marie Luise Birkholz).

Figure 3.4.Karl Prantl, Kreuzweg (photo: Lukas Dostal, Karl Prantl ARCHIVE).

Figure 3.5.Langholzfeld, Holy Cross Church, Kreuzweg (photo: Stephanie Angerer).

Figure 3.6.Bentheim, Frenswegen Abbey, Kreuzweg (photo: Wikimedia commons: common domain), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nordhorn_Prantl02.JPG>.←xii | xiii→

Figure 3.7.Karl Prantl at the Frenswegen Abbey in Bentheim (after Robert Häusser, 2. Internationales Bildhauer-Symposion Bentheimer Sandstein 1982, Landkreis Grafschaft Bentheim, Kloster Frenswegen, 4. August bis 26. September 1982, published by Nordhorn: Landkreis Grafschaft Bentheim, 1984).

Figure 3.8.Nuremberg, St. Lorenz Church (photo: Wikimedia commons: CC BY-SA 2.0 DE), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:N%C3%BCrnberg_St._Lorenz_T%C3%BCrme_Totale.jpg>.

Figure 3.9.Nuremberg, St. Lorenz Church, Sacrament House (photo: Wikimedia commons: CC BY-SA 4.0), <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:N%C3%BCrnberg_St._Lorenz_Sakramentshaus_02.jpg>.

Figure 3.10.Johann Adam Delsenbach, St. John’s Cemetery in Nuremberg (photo: Stadtarchiv Nuremberg).

Figure 3.11.Nuremberg, St. John’s Cemetery, Holzschuher Chapel, entombment (photo: Simon or Pablo de la Riestra, Nuremberg).

Figure 3.12.Nuremberg, Kreuzweg by Adam Kraft, replica of the sixth station (photo: Simon Hilber).

Figure 3.13.Nuremberg, Kreuzweg by Adam Kraft, replica of the second station (photo: Simon Hilber).

Figure 3.14.Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Kreuzweg by Adam Kraft, Lamentation (photo: Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum).

Figure 3.15.Nuremberg, Kartäusergasse, Way of Human Rights (photo: Wikimedia Commons: CC BY-SA 3.0), <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Strasse-der-Menschenrechte-Eingang-2012.jpg>.

Figure 4.1.Berlin, Schöneberg, Places of Remembrance, detail (photo: author).

Figure 4.2.Berlin, Schöneberg, Places of Remembrance, detail (photo: author).←xiii | xiv→

Figure 4.3.Berlin, Schöneberg, Places of Remembrance, detail (photo: author).

Figure 4.4.Berlin, Schöneberg, Places of Remembrance, detail (photo: author).

Figure 4.5.Berlin, S-Bahn station Grunewald, Gleis [Track] 17 Memorial, detail (photo: Sara Hommelsheim).

Figure 4.6.Berlin, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (photo: Sara Hommelsheim).

Figure 5.1.Hamburg, University Guest House (photo: author).

Figure 5.2.Hamburg, University Guest House, Stolpersteine (photo: author).

Figure 5.3.Rome, Church of St. Agnes (Sant’Agnese fuori le mura), Damasus’s epigram (photo: Dennis Trout).

Figure 5.4.A map of Rome showing the proportional distribution of Damasus’s epigrams (photo courtesy of Jean Guyon).

Figure 5.5.Hamburg, university’s main building, Stolpersteine (photo: author).


XX, 284
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (December)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2022. XX, 284 pp., 79 fig. col., 14 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Galit Noga-Banai (Author)

Galit Noga-Banai is Professor of Art History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she lectures and writes on early Christian and medieval art. She is the author of The Trophies of the Martyrs: An Art Historical Study of Early Christian Silver Reliquaries (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Sacred Stimulus: Jerusalem in the Visual Christianization of Rome (Oxford University Press, 2018). In recent years she has also become interested in modern and contemporary medievalism.


Title: A Medievalist’s Gaze
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
306 pages