24 August 2006

Nuremburg 4

As I wander around cities I can almost always be drawn towards spires or fountains. Though the old part of Nuremburg is fairly compact there were three Gothic churches for me to explore. Perhaps I should say Gothic-style, since it turns out that they were mostly destroyed by bombing during the war and what we see now are careful reconstructions from the mid-twentieth century, which explains why sometimes the blocky, earnest sculptural forms of the 1950s jut out from the elaborately lacey filigree of the German Gothic.
There are several attractive fountains as well, including one modern-looking one that, if I understood it correctly, and I may not have, was in celebration of beer.
The oddest fountain is right outside of St. Lorenz. On the top stands blindfolded Justice, her sword uplifted and scales swaying in the breeze. The layer below features cherubs, with water shooting in thin streams from their trumpets (though only one or two cherubs were working right and a few were obviously missing their musical instruments). The third and bottom layer features female saints (and possibly one Virtue; she looked like Caritas). I identified Agnes and Perpetua (could Felicity be far behind?) and possibly Veronica and Margaret. There were a couple more that completely eluded me. All were bare-breasted and the water shot in thin streams from their nipples, or more precisely from little jets right below their sculpted nipples, giving them a double-nippled look. St. Perpetua's nipples were blocked, but all the rest were flowing freely. I've never seen saints depicted this way. I'm sure there's some sort of allegory of grace and abundance intended.
The fountain was quite the backdrop for photos, so I kept moving out of the way. This might be a coincidence but almost all those being photographed there were women. One wife did take a picture of her husband and then refused his request that she pose with a slightly disgusted grimace that made me think they had been married quite a while.

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