Counterstatement by the United Cathedral Foundations on the research results of ICOMOS Germany on the Naumburg Cranach Triegel Retable

In preparation for the printing of the results of the scientific colloquium of the United Cathedral Foundations in November 2022, the authors Dr Holger Kunde and Dr Matthias Ludwig have published their contribution "Der Marienaltar im Westchor des Naumburger Domes und seine Altarflügel von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren. A critical source study" published in advance on the Foundation's homepage.

By analysing the sources of the Naumburg cathedral archives, they were able to clearly refute central theses of the ICOMOS monitor appointed by ICOMOS Germany for Naumburg, Prof. Dr Achim Hubel. In particular, they were able to prove in detail, based on the account books of the church factory of Naumburg Cathedral, that the Marienretabel, completed by Lucas Cranach in 1520, was created for the Marienaltar of Naumburg's west choir and was also placed there.

As late as December 2022, Hubel had attempted in the journal "Denkmalpflege in Sachsen-Anhalt" to prove "that a retable attachment could never have stood on the central altar block in the west choir [...]", a view subsequently shared by some of his colleagues and President Mager of ICOMOS Germany. Instead, Hubel located the original site of the Cranach retable in the east choir of Naumburg Cathedral without any substantiating evidence. As it now turns out, Hubel's theories find no confirmation in the sources. Hubel's denial of an anti-Marian iconoclasm in Naumburg Cathedral on 9 November 1541, in which the central part of the retable and other representations of the Virgin Mary fell victim, could also be verified by Kunde and Ludwig on the basis of informative sources.

The evidence now available of the erection of the retable created by Cranach on the altar of Mary in Naumburg's west choir, including the Venice Charter, is of considerable importance for the upcoming discussions on the further fate of the altar project. The Cranach-Triegel retable is still on loan to the Diözesan-Museum in Paderborn until mid-2023.

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