Tuesday, June 07, 2022

A Triptych in Berlin Cathedral: 19th-Century Lutherans Following a Traditional Catholic Schema?

Thank you to Beth Butler, editor of Baylor University’s student newspaper The Standard, for bringing this art to my attention, through this article about the Scala Foundation conference, which took place in Princeton, New Jersey in April, and which I attended.

It is a large-scale triptych in a spectacular neo-Baroque evangelical church in Berlin. I have no information about the artwork itself. As far as I can gather, the cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century, and then reconstructed after being bombed in the Second World War, with the restoration being completed in the 1970s. It is called a cathedral but is not the seat of a bishop, and is used for state functions as well as for religious purposes.
What intrigued me about the images - I think they are stained glass although I am not sure - is that even though they are in a relatively recent Protestant church, they conform to the traditional Catholic ideal schema of Our Lady and Our Lord on the left (a Nativity scene), the Passion in the center, and the Risen Christ on the right (in an image of the Ascension). I am curious to know why the Protestants conformed to this schema given at the time it was built, most Catholics seem to have become detached from their own tradition. Any information that readers could supply on the story behind these windows would be much appreciated.
So here are some more photos: first, several of the building itself from the outside; second, a couple of the interior showing the altar with a distant view of the triptych, a reredos, behind it; and third, a recap of the three works of art.

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