Die Danziger Gebote-Tafeln als Spiegel ihrer Zeit

Viola Hildebrand-Schat

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/AUNC_ZiK.2011.029


Entering the church of St. Mary in Danzig the visitor will be struck by the two paintings in the north-western wing not far away from the high altar. Even though related though their subject they date form different periods. One was provided by a Netherland master between 1480 and 1490, the other from the regional artist Anton Möller in 1607. Both paintings can be summarized under the term “instructive,” because they address the viewer with his duties as a good Christian. The painting form the end of the 15th century shows the Ten Commandments, the painting from Anton Möller the seven works of charity. With that both paintings are part of instruction as it follows form Christian religion. Remarkable however is the interrelation both paintings show to social-historical events of their time. This can be observed by details included in the representation. The painting with the Ten Commandments gives a close observation of the population form Danzig showing the different roles within society. They evidence of wealth and prosperity, which took influence on morality. Therefore the clerical became aware of the necessity to remind of the duties as they were given with the Ten Commandments. The works of charity allude to the religious constellations, which has become competing powers at the turn of the century. The painting of Möller results to be a sort of manifest for the Lutheran Church against the Reformed Church. The Calvinist at that time had powerful positions within the municipality and took more and more influence on the political development. Therefore the Protestant were interested to demonstrate the power they had, especially when they allied with the Catholics. Such both paintings are of an importance, which exceed the clerical context by far. While both representations refer to the current situation of their time they can be considered as a document of the social and political development. 

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