On 10 December at 16:15 Kerttu Palginõmm will defend her doctoral thesis “Pracht und Luxus zwischen Brügge und Reval: Retabel des Marienaltares der Bruderschaft der Revaler Schwarzenhäupter des Meisters der Legende der Hl. Lucia” (“Splendor and Luxury in Bruges and Tallinn: The Altarpiece of St. Mary of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads”) for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in History).
Professor Anti Selart, University of Tartu
Professor Barbara Welzel, TU Dortmund University (Germany)
Professor Iris Wenderholm, University of Hamburg (Germany)
Dr Anu Mänd, Tallinn University
Late medieval Netherlandish painted altarpieces that are kept in the Art Museum of Estonia: Niguliste Museum are some of the most valuable artworks in Estonia. Among these is the altarpiece attributed to the anonymous Master of
the Legend of St. Lucy from Bruges, which is believed to have arrived in the Hanseatic city of Tallinn (in the Dominican St. Catherine's Church) in 1493. The altarpiece was commissioned by such powerful associations of merchants as the Great Guild and the Brotherhood of Black Heads.
The altarpiece stands out for depicting an extraordinary number of luxury items. These include expensive silken and velvet fabrics, cloth of gold, oriental rugs, verdures, lustreware, manuscripts, suits of armour, and goldsmith works. When the altarpiece is open, the degree of luxury grows from modest items to very expensive ones. Thus, the altarpiece is particularly well-suited for studying material culture. It may even be considered a kind of key work of Netherlandish painting. In this dissertation, all luxury items are analysed separately and as an ensemble—adding the correct terms, dates, and if possible, the origin—for the first time.
While studying the altarpiece, it became clear that the objects come from more or less the same time period as the painted altarpiece itself—from the second half of the 15th century. This shows that the Master's goal was to depict contemporary objects as accurately as possible. Textile depictions are mostly generalized, without paying attention to their texture. In contrast, everything on a small scale, such as gems on jewels or gold ribbons, is painted with greater attention. This means that the Master was probably pressed for time in completing the altarpiece. Yet, the techniques used show that the workshop had abundant resources for completing such and order. Although it would be logical to assume that the appearance of the altarpiece was decided solely by the merchants, the repeating luxury objects in the master's work indicate that the initiative to depict them has come from Bruges and not from Tallinn. At the same time, the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend was well acquainted with his clients and offered them everything that the commercial city of Bruges was known for. He thus symbolically made them holders of great resources.
Access to the defence in Teams.