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Art Historical Research on the Choir Windows of Bern Minster

Despite suffering considerable damage in a hailstorm, the late medieval glazing of Bern Minster choir is still one of the best-preserved ensembles in the southwest part of the Holy Roman Empire.

The glazing scheme has already been studied according to the guidelines of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, and was published in 1998 as Vol. IV, Corpus Vitrearum Switzerland. Now, based on more recent research findings and in the light of present-day perspectives, methods and approaches in art history, the stained glass is to be studied and analysed anew. The art historical research will explore, among others things, the following questions: What is the role of stained glass in structuring the choirs of large churches as pictural environments for the performance of the liturgy? What form and content are intrinsic to the stained glass in Bern, and elsewhere (Thann, Ulm, Esslingen, Königsfelden etc.)? This part of the project will also look at the special case of the donor portraits in the choir windows at Bern, as well as exploring certain questions relating to the mediality of 15th-century stained glass, such as: Is stained glass really a communication medium, as put forward by media theory? How is the attention of the observer guided by the materiality of the stained glass? At whom, i.e. what kind of observer, were these glass pictures aimed?

Research at the Vitrocentre conducted by: Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz

The project is sponsored by the Swiss National Science Fund, the Berner Münster Stiftung and the Burgergemeinde Bern.

Further information on the overall project can be found under: http://www.ikg.unibe.ch/content/forschung/forschungsprojekte/berner_muenster/index_ger.html.

Vitrocentre Romont – Au Château – P.O. Box 150 – CH-1680 Romont – Phone +41 (0)26 652 10 95 – Fax +41 (0)26 652 49 17 – cr:vasb:ivgebprager.pu