The conservation and technique of the Herlin Altarpiece

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bachmann, Karl-Werner; Oellermann, E.; Taubert, J.;


Studies in conservation, Volume 15, Number 4, p.327-369 (1970)


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The restoration of the altarpiece by Friedrich in Rothenburg ober der Tauber,1466, is described. The polychromed sculptures were cleaned and loose paint was fixed. Methods and materials used in the restoration of the paintings, the areas polychromed in various techniques and the brocade reliefs are mentioned. The altar was protected from direct sunlight. The construction of the shrine and the technique of carving are extensively discussed. Sculptures made from one piece of lime wood were hollowed out and closed with a plank. Traces of rough finishing are visible. Shrine and predella were polychromed after a preliminary assembly of the sculptures. The various techniques used in the undisfigured polychromy are described as they are observed with the unaided eye. It can be shown that the working methods were rational. The fabrication of relief brocades and the various patterns used are discussed in detail. The treatment of the various paintings on the wings, the predella and the reverse of the shrine is reported. The question is raised to what extent the painter Herlin can also have been responsible for the polychromy.