Town in the state of Saxony-Anhalt
Represents an outstanding testimony to medieval art and architecture
Location and site
Located in the eastern part of the Thuringian Basin, the Cathedral of Naumburg, whose construction began in 1028, is an outstanding testimony to medieval art and architecture. Its Romanesque structure, flanked by two Gothic choirs, demonstrates the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. The west choir, dating to the first half of the 13th century, reflects changes in religious practice and the appearance of science and nature in the figurative arts. The choir and life-size sculptures of the founders of the Cathedral are masterpieces of the workshop known as the ‘Naumburg Master’.
Criterion (i): The episcopal church of Naumburg is unique among the medieval cathedrals due to the west choir conceptualized and designed by a brilliant sculptor – the “Naumburg Master” – and his workshop. The organic combination of architecture, sculpture and glass paintings created an extraordinary synthesis of the arts. […]
Criterion (ii): The workshop organization of sculptors and stonemasons was established in the early 13th century and is known under the name Naumburg Master. It constitutes one of the decisive conveyors and pioneers of the ground-breaking innovations in architecture and sculpture in the second half of the 13th century. The migration of the workshop of the Naumburg Master, from northeastern France through the Middle Rhine areas to the eastern boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire and further to southwestern Europe, gives testimony to the extensive European cultural exchange during the High Middle Ages.
Naumburg Cathedral, located in the south of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, is a unique testimony to medieval art and architecture. Most of the church building dates back to the 13th century. It is composed of a basilical Romanesque nave flanked by two Gothic choirs in the east and in the west. The west choir with the famous portrait statues of the twelve cathedral founders and the west rood screen are the masterpieces of pan-European workshop accordingly named the “Naumburg Master”, who conceptualized all parts of the western choir as a whole, and carried out the western choir from the bottom to the roof within six years only. The polychrome reliefs and sculptures of the choir and the rood screen count among the most significant sculptures of the Middle Ages. The overall iconographic concept and the harmonious combination of architecture, sculpture and glass paintings reflect in a unique way the profound changes in the religious practice and the visual arts of the 13th century. These changes resulted in a hitherto unknown realism and observation of nature, as well as in the recourse to ancient sources.
Mr. Bernward Küper
Naumburg (Saale), Germany