St. Maria in Lyskirchen, Catherine Chapel Ceiling

Posted by MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 24 January 2009 in Art & Design.

If you're thinking now: "I have seen this before!" you're coming close to the truth, but this is the ceiling of another chapel of St. Maria in Lyskirchen, Cologne. This chapel is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, an early Christian archetype of a strong woman, who was very popular for many centuries.

The colours on this ceiling appear in a much better state of preservation than in the Nicolas chapel, but this is somewhat misleading: they are the results of an early reconstruction of 1879, when these frescoes were rediscovered and 'overhauled'. Decades later, these measurements weren't taken back, as the original texture of the paint had been affected too much. Two images of this picture cycle (Catherine's decapitation and her burial; next to the window) have been freely replenished. Also here the cautious reconstruction was done by Anton Bardenhewer in 1934.

Some more trivia for your next party smalltalk: the Catherine cycle (1280) is ten years younger than the Nicholas cycle (1270); the paintings have been applied al secco; the sharply outlined clothings make these paintings the most important samples of the so-called Zackenstil, where Byzantine influences can be excluded, though.

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

Nice history! I imagine you could look at these frescoes all day long!

24 Jan 2009 5:45pm

@PD: Definitely, but that would cause you neck pain. ;-) It's much easier to take a shot and look at the images later. :)

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

You must go to different kinds of parties than I do.

26 Jan 2009 11:44pm

@Twelvebit: Try it - some people will really listen to you! :-)

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

Beautiful details and colors in that ceiling. A picture doesn't need to be difficult technically to be beautiful...
The only thing I would try in this beautiful and strong picture is to crop the lamp which I find distracting from the main subject.

27 Jan 2009 2:49am

@akarui: Thank you! (I didn't crop the lamp for the sake of completeness - I would have had cropped a part of the pendentive too.)


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