Altar of the Poor Clares, Back Side, 1905.
The winged altar-piece, which dates from about 1350/60, was originally located in the Franciscan Church of St Clare in Cologne and was only transferred to the cathedral when this church was deconsecrated and demolished. At the centre of the altar-piece is a protruding shrine casket. The altar-piece has a pair of double wings, which means that three different transformations—each magnificent and each very different from the other—are possible. The paintings on the wings were painted over in the year 1400. Unfortunately, when the altar-piece was restored between 1907 and 1909, the value of these more recent, medieval paintings was not fully appreciated and so, the medieval paintings were removed from both sides of the outer wings, revealing the older paintings.
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria, English: High Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Mary) is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site. It is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.
Cologne Cathedral was commenced in 1248 and left unfinished in 1473. Work recommenced in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. It is 144.5 metres (474 ft) long, 86.5 m (284 ft) wide and its towers are approximately 157 m (515 ft) tall. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires and largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.
Cologne's medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as "a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value" and "a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe".
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