Digital Art Meets Gothic Arch


Digital Art Meets Gothic Arch
Grand Stairway – On View
German, born 1954


Thomas Struth
Kölner Dom, Köln, 2007
Chromogenic print, edition one of ten
Gift of funds from Eric Dayton 2010.51.1

This photograph is Struth’s homage to Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, to photographic documentation of European architecture, and to his art teacher and mentor, Gerhard Richter. The Cologne Cathedral, located not far from Struth’s residence in Düsseldorf, is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. Begun in 1248, and built over a period of six hundred years, it is Cologne’s most revered building and features the largest church façade in the world, encompassing a set of twin spires.

Photographers began documenting architecture in earnest in the late nineteenth century, when technical photographic advances whetted their artistic appetites. Photographers of churches are challenged by the scale of their subject, and often have limited vantage points. For this image, Struth was able to find a camera position that emphasized the great depth and height of the structure and showcased Richter’s spectacular new stained-glass window. Three years ago the Richter window replaced temporary clear glass that was installed after the cathedral’s original south transept window was lost to Allied bombing during World War II. Richter, one of Germany’s most prominent artists, based the design on one of his paintings of 1974, using a computer to randomly select the colors for the window’s 11,500 square panes. The resulting pixel-like pattern references new digital technology and is a dramatic counterpoint to the building’s period architecture.

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Interloper – or Illuminator? You Tell Us.

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