2014. április 22., kedd

"Machinas beim Münster zu Straspurg gebraucht worden": the engines in Hans Hammer’s portfolio

Abstract of my presentation at the 3th Interdisciplinary Doctoral Conference (University of Pécs, 17. April)

Hans Hammer was the master builder of the Strasbourg cathedral at the end of the 15th century. In addition small but intricate works in the cathedral (for example the famous pulpit) he had a momentous job: to design and build up the second tower of the cathedral. Building great towers was a task without a preceding antique model. Its construction differs significantly from the other parts of the building, especially because it is a freestanding structure. This explains the need of advanced hoisting engines. The second tower in Strasbourg wasn’t built up, but the portfolio of Hans Hammer survived, with more than a dozen detailed drawings of engines. This collection is unique. There are other collections available from the second half of the 15th century with drawings of engines, but they are connected with warfare, not construction. (One important exception is the sketchbook – the so-called zibaldone – of Ghiberti Bonaccorso with the engines of Brunelleschi from the construction of the dome in Florence, but it is originated in the different cultural and geographical background of the Italian Renaissance.) Fortunately the construction of towers was a beloved subject of the contemporary artists (including the engines and everything in connection), so we can examine this task on many illuminations and paintings. With the help of the aforementioned contemporary drawings (the warfare-books, the zibaldone, the artworks) the engine drawings of Hans Hammer can be examined, categorised and placed in contemporary context.