Lotem Pinchover, BA
Via Crucis in German Monasteries
CV

Lent Imagery in early Lenten Veils – Lenten Veils (Fastentücher) are large cloths used for dissimulating the altar area during Lent in Catholic churches.
These cloths were extremely popular, especially from the Late Middle Ages through the sixteenth century in German-speaking areas. Usually decorated with scenes from the Passion of Christ, they allowed the spectator-believer to observe them and meditate during mass. As huge paintings on linen, these cloths document the transition phase from medieval to early modern decoration schemes; they represent a continuation of old iconographical traditions transposed on a monumental scale, using sophisticated formulae and offering different levels of interpretation. One way of interpreting the tradition of the use of Lenten Veils is seeing them as symbolising the “Parochet” of the Temple.

The Veil of the Temple was torn down at the moment of Christ’s death. Many of the Lenten Veils were made by two vertical halves, so that they could be “torn” down at the service of of Wednesday of the Holy Week. Thus, the altar signifies the sanctuary at the Temple, and the Lenten Veil is the Parochet. In this context, the whole church signifies the Temple during Easter time.Female Piety in Lower Saxony during the High Middle Ages – Lower Saxony was extremely rich in female monasteries in the High Middle Ages, boasting some of the most compelling female medieval figures and countless important works of art.

The cult around the Passion of Christ was of central importance during this period, as expressed in a number of ways. One prominent example is the fifteenth-century Stations of the Cross in the convent of Wienhausen, known from two extant manuscripts drafted by the convent’s nuns in the late fifteenth century.
Other monasteries in the area illustrate additional mediums of connection to the Holy Land: maps, Passion-related objects and other artefacts. Many of the most interesting objects and works of art of the later Middle Ages stem from female monasteries, possibly due to the limitations of the periculoso and the Observant reform. Through the virtual widening of the borders of their convent, the nuns were able to expand their world endlessly.

One extremely interesting phenomenon found in the convents of northern Germany is the strikingly common appearance of the iconography of Christ's resurrection. The theme repeats again and again in different media during the High and Late Middle Ages in the convents of the Lüneburger Heath and is another point of interest which is at the centre of my current research. Artefacts, objects and spiritual aids confirming relationship to Jerusalem in convents of German speaking lands: many convents hold artefacts from different periods suggesting a continuous relationship to Jerusalem through objects, architecture as well as spiritual aids. Several entries about architectural complexes, objects, texts and persons are in progress, some close to being complete.

The Easter Tapestry of Lüne Convent, today in Hamburg: the beautiful tapestry was probably made by the nuns of the Lüne Convent (Lüneburg) in 1504. The middle ring of the tapestry includes the figure of the resurrected Christ, a familiar theme in the convents of the area. The work on this entry is still in progress. The Heavenly Jerusalem fresco in the Bishop’s Gallery of Gurk’s former Cathedral: a Romanesque fresco from 1260 which adorns one of the chapel’s vaults in the church of Gurk.
The fresco shows the Heavenly Jerusalem in the common Romanesque composition. The work on this entry is still in progress. The Heavenly Jerusalem fresco in the choir of St. Nikolaus, Matrei: the frescoes from the 13th century are good comparison to those in Gurk, and are found in close proximity both physically and stylistically. The work on this entry is still in progress. The texts of the Stations of the Cross in Wienhausen convent: two extant manuscripts drafted by the convent’s nuns in the late fifteenth century guide the nun through a route of stations inside the convent. The work on this entry is still in progress.

Study trip to Wienhausen
In April 2011 I undertook a study trip to Wienhausen. Although the original function of the monastery has changed over the years, it still houses many medieval works of art and the medieval spirit remains palpable between the convent’s walls. Preserved objects such as Christ's Sarcophagus and Effigy and Christ Bearing the Cross were probably used within a virtual Passion route and may shed more light on the liturgical practice of the Stations of the Cross.

Besides the Wienhausen Cloister, my study trip included neighbouring convents as well. The visit was carefully planned to coincide with Easter and its Sunday Mass, so as to enable as full an experience of the holiday spirit as possible.
Walking between the convent’s walls, observing its works of art and collecting visual and written data enabled me to draw connections between the visual material and the written evidence. The words from the text of the Stations of the Cross, though they have survived for 500 years, sometimes lack the overall picture; they do not give any information about how the nuns used objects and works of art as liturgical and/or devotional props.

After visiting Weinhausen, I visited the convents at Hanover Marienwerder, Ebstorf and Lüne. All three of these were in close contact with Weinhausen during the Middle Ages, and their similar works of art speak to the existence of parallel practices. Thus, a Crucifix with removable arms from Marienwerder could have been used in the Easter liturgy; the Ebstorf world map showing Jerusalem as the centre of the world may have been used for virtual pilgrimage; the resurrected Christ of Ebstorf may be directly connected to the one from Wienhausen; and so on.

The other convents of the region demonstrate that the Wienhausen convent was not unique in its history of female spiritualism. Together, they suggest that a larger, more comprehensive project on female monasticism in this area is in order. Such a project is getting under way in the framework of Spectrum: Visual Translations of Jerusalem conducted in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Hedwig Röckelein and her students from the University of Göttingen.

Relevant positions
Research assistant and administrative coordinator of the ERC-funded “Spectrum: Visual Translations of Jerusalem.”
As part of the research group I am also responsible for acquiring and ordering articles and books for the project. Over the last two years we have been collecting hundreds of articles relevant to the project and dozens of books. The growing library of the project includes today about 350 entries, updated and reviewed by the members of the group, and inserted to our growing database.

Other responsibilities I hold include following weekly and monthly time charts of all group members in residence and abroad; delivering group correspondence; updating the group members in ongoing activities outside the group context.

Research assistant of Dr Galit Noga-Banai in a collaborative research project “Practicing Love of God: Comparing Women’s Practice and Men’s Practice in Medieval Saxony”. Individual topic within the project (PhD topic): ‘The Presence of Jerusalem in Medieval Convents of Lower Saxony: Art and Cult’.

Other activities in relation to topic
Since 2008: Tutorial assistant of "Introduction to Medieval Art" in the Art History Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Papers and Lectures in relation to topic
“Marking the Stations of the Cross. The Case of the convent of Wienhausen," in International Medieval Congress, Leeds 01-04/07/2013, University of Leeds, UK, 02/07/2013.

“Re-live Resurrection in high medieval Germany,” in conference to be held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in honor of Prof. Bianca Kühnel, for her retirement, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 06/03/2013.

The Stations of the Cross in Wienhausen Cloister; The Stations of the Cross of Frauenberg Monastery in Fulda, in: Jerusalem Elsewhere: The German Rescensions Minerva Gentner Symposium (10/2011). (forthcoming publication of the first topic on 2013)

The Gurker Lenten-Veil as a Product of its Immediate Surrounding, in: Treffen der Österreich-Zentren in Budapest 26.-31.10 2011, Gyula Deutschsprachige Universität Budapest (28/10/2011). (published in From Collective Memories to Intercultural Exchanges, ed. by Marija Wakounig, Münster: LIT, 2012, pp. 85-116) - participation in conferences, papers presented (venue, title, short description of content)- “Marking the Stations of the Cross.

The Case of the convent of Wienhausen," in International Medieval Congress, Leeds 01-04/07/2013, University of Leeds, UK, 02/07/2013.

Description
Since early Christianity, certain locations at the city of Jerusalem have received special attention.

These spots bore historical significance and served as focal points for worship and emerging traditions and liturgies, triggering all sorts of emotions. Over the years, these locations were maintained and cherished. They turned into stations in a chain of holy places and holy events in Jerusalem.

The action of following the journey of the stations navigated the pilgrim through different points of time. The transition between space- and time-frame was also made vivid through liturgy and other acts of devotion in the station, which were also stressed by the physical space as well as by the works of art and architecture. The action of "Journey" or "Travel" was repeated in other areas, away from the "origin", namely the Holy Land and Jerusalem. The stations’ route received different variations and countless means of “marking”.

From huge paths with separate chapels to small tracks in a limited space led by painted panels – the expressions to the idea of a "Journey in the Holy City" were diverse and were popular throughout Europe especially during the High and Late Middle Ages. In the Cistercian convent of Wienhausen, Lower-Saxony, Germany, two manuscripts from the end of the 15th or the beginning of 16th c. were found, guiding the nun on her Way of the Cross inside the monastery. In the 15th century there were already routes of via crucis as well as Leidenwege, and those known to us from Lübeck, Görlitz and Bamberg for example, had either panels, columns or chapels marking each station at the route.

Earlier, when monks and preachers such as Henry Suso guided monks and nuns to perform similar pathways within their monastery, they advised them to stop at different points within their own cells and say prayers. In Wienhausen, however, the way of marking the route is unusual and may testify on a fascinating practice done in other places as well. The case of Wienhausen shows an intriguing combination of physical spaces of the contemporary monastery together with unique artworks and places for private worship.
In the proposed paper, I would like to offer a new map of the route at Wienhausen, and try to reconstruct the image of visual aids probably given at each station.


"The Gurker Lenten-Veil as a Product of its Immediate Surrounding," in Treffen der Österreich-Zentren in Budapest 26.-31.10 2011, Gyula Deutschsprachige Universität Budapest, 28/10/2011

Description
The Lenten-Veil of Gurk is a great example of the so-called Fastentücher tradition, popular especially in German-speaking countries during the High Middle Ages and after. The amazingly large cloth is of special importance since it is the earliest example of its kind in Austria.

Lenten-Veils are curtains used to conceal the altar-area in Catholic Churches during Lent. This costume of covering the luminous altar-area, normally at the centre of church service, can be seen as “a fast of the vision”.

These cloths were painted over. The common depicted themes were scenes from the Old- and New-Testaments, based on typology known from the so-called Speculum humanae salvationis, medieval popular manuscripts. While standing during the silent mass, the spectator-believer could meditate on the depicted scenes of the sacred history. The Gurker Veil is of special importance as it is one of the earliest and largest (8.87X8.87 m.) Lenten-veils preserved, and it was in constant use in its actual place since its creation.

These conditions afford the scholar to check the context in which the Veil was made, discussing its iconography which is rooted in other works of art in the Cathedral of Gurk. "The Stations of the Cross in Wienhausen Cloister," in Jerusalem Elsewhere: The German Rescensions, Minerva Gentner Symposium, Wienhausen, 26/10/2011

Description
Two manuscripts from the late 15th or early 16th centuries, now at the convent's archive, Hss. 85 and 86, lead the nun of Wienhausen through a route of eleven circuit-stations, starting and ending at the Nuns’ Choir.
The presentation first discussed these texts, and then described the circuits together with related artworks from the convent such as Christ Bearing the Cross, Christ's Sarcophagus and Effigy, Pilgrims’ Tokens of the Holy Face and others.

"The Stations of the Cross of Frauenberg Monastery in Fulda," in Jerusalem Elsewhere: The German Recensions, Minerva Gentner Symposium, Fulda, 25/10/2011

Description
This Kalvarienberg provides a good example of an 18th c. Franciscan Kalvarienberg.
There are dozens or even hundreds of such complexes in all over Europe, mainly in catholic areas such as Tyrol, Bavaria and Bohemia. They range in their size, date and content, but they are all located on hills of which on the top are crucifixion groups of the Calvary.

These sited were very popular since the 16th c. Today we are dealing with a relatively later type of the early 18th c. If the earlier type of Kalvarienberge were mainly influenced by the spirit of the Counter Reformation, in the 18th c. there is a re-blooming of these sites, pushed forward by several factors such as the permission to give indulgences and the fixation of the stations of the via dolorosa in Jerusalem.

The Frauenberg stations were built in 1735-8, by the Franciscan friar coming from Leitmeritz (today the Check-Republic), named Wenzeslaus Marx (1708-1773). It includes 14 stations which correspond to those of Jerusalem.


Publications

"The Gurker Lenten-Veil as a Product of its Immediate Surrounding," in From Collective Memories to Intercultural Exchanges, ed. by Marija Wakounig, Münster: LIT, 2012, pp. 85-116

Abstract:
The Lenten-Veil of Gurk is a great example of the so-called Fastentücher tradition, popular especially in German-speaking countries during the High Middle Ages and after. The amazingly large cloth is of special importance since it is the earliest example of its kind in Austria.

Lenten-Veils are curtains used to conceal the altar-area in Catholic Churches during Lent. This costume of covering the luminous altar-area, normally at the centre of church service, can be seen as “a fast of the vision”. These cloths were painted over. The common depicted themes were scenes from the Old- and New-Testaments, based on typology known from the so-called Speculum humanae salvationis, medieval popular manuscripts.

While standing during the silent mass, the spectator-believer could meditate on the depicted scenes of the sacred history. The Gurker Veil is of special importance as it is one of the earliest and largest (8.87X8.87 m.)
Lenten-veils preserved, and it was in constant use in its actual place since its creation. These conditions afford the scholar to check the context in which the Veil was made, discussing its iconography which is rooted in other works of art in the Cathedral of Gurk.

Tradition and Innovation in the Former Cathedral of Gurk, Jerusalem: The Centre for Austrian Studies, Forthcoming Working paper 2012

Abstract:
The community of Gurk is today a small infamous town in Carinthia but it used to be a diocese in medieval times and is still holding in its former cathedral some of the most important works of art in Austria. No longer a seat of the bishop and placed off the central roads, the town escaped the massive restoration wave of the nineteenth century and thus the works of art from Gurk are preserved in their original state.

The following paper will thrive to present the iconographic continuity attested in the works of art starting with the Romanesque frescoes and reliefs and ending with the Gurk Lenten Veil of the fifteenth century. The works of art will be considered in context of their location and time period when the cathedral of Gurk was a central place of piety and creativeness in Carinthia.

"The Via crucis in Wienhausen," in Publication of Minerva Gentner Symposium: Jerusalem Elsewhere:
The German Rescensions, Germany, 21-28.10.2011, Forthcoming

Abstract:
Two manuscripts from the late 15th or early 16th centuries, now at the convent's archive, Hss. 85 and 86, lead the nun of Wienhausen through a route of eleven circuit-stations, starting and ending at the Nuns’ Choir.

The presentation first discussed these texts, and then described the circuits together with related artworks from the convent such as Christ Bearing the Cross, Christ's Sarcophagus and Effigy, Pilgrims’ Tokens of the Holy Face and others.
The manuscripts of the circuits at Wienhausen are of crucial importance, and may indicate the customs practiced in other convents in the area. This line of study can be pursued based on analysis of similar artwork in other convents.