Why you would take this class if you are interested in Art


The focal point of the course is the 16th century, a time of Renaissance, characterized by a transition to humanism. Germany was shaken by the reformation, beginning with Martin Luther’s thesis on the church door of Wittenberg. One of the first editions of De re metallica can be viewed in the library of the Bergakademie Freiberg. The book is adorned with 182 woodcuts, depicting detail and instructions for various technical processes and machines.

We will encounter religious and secular expressions of art in paintings and architecture. A few examples are shown below:

St Anna church in Annaberg, with the famous altar by Hans Hesse

Cobalt colors, won by mining and refining from 16th century on


Cathedral in Freiberg, with a 12th century Golden Gate, a Lucas Cranach altar and a Silberman Organ as well as a special pulpit by Hans Witten


Laces made by a technique called “Klöppeln”


Brass dishes made from copper and zink won in the mines

The literature by Agricola and Ercker is filled with historic wood cuts showing the technical details of equipment.

Again and again, we encounter pieces from a mysterious man with the initials H.W., usually interpreted as Hans Witten. Not much is known about this artist who was active around 1500, his work is distinct from his contemporaries by the life he has given to his objects. We will see works by him in several places, including Chemnitz, Annaberg, Ehrenfriedersdorf and Freiberg.

The Scourging of Christ, by Hans Witten, Schloßkirche Chemnitz


Altar of the St Nikolai church in Ehrenfriedersdorf, by Hans Witten



There is also a significant exhibit of art covering the artists visions of mining in the Wismut mines spanning an era from 1950 to 2000.




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