Conference: Art, Memory, and Patronage: Visual Culture in the Baltic Sea Region at the Time of Bernt Notke

International Conference in Tallinn, 10–12 September 2009

(Homburger Gespräch 2009)

Organizers: Institute of History of Tallinn University, Niguliste Museum, M.C.A. Böckler-Mare Balticum-Stiftung

The conference marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Bernt Notke (d. 1509), one of the most well known and innovative artists in the late-medieval Baltic Sea region. The event also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Niguliste Museum, where the world famous fragment of Notke’s Danse macabre is displayed.

The main focus of the conference is on the production of Bernt Notke’s workshop, particularly on his masterpieces, surviving or no longer extant, in Lübeck, Aarhus, Stockholm, Tallinn and elsewhere. The speakers will survey the iconographic programme of these artworks as well as the variety of materials and techniques used in Notke’s workshop. The discussion also includes artists and artworks in the Baltic Sea countries contemporary with Notke, as well as the spread of models and artistic influences.

Special attention will be paid to the role of the patrons: how did the artworks manifest the social status, power and ambitions of the donors? How was the memory of the donors perpetuated? How did the artworks commemorate certain political events? To what extent can we investigate the interrelations between image, text and performance?

Finally, Bernt Notke was not only a talented artist and efficient workshop manager, whose works were admired and desired by the contemporaries – his personality and his works (in particular, the Danse macabre) have also inspired writers of modern times. Accordingly, the conference ends with the discussion of Notke in the literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The conference brings together art historians, social historians and restorers from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, UK, USA, and Estonia.

The working languages of the conference are English and German.

It is anticipated that the conference will result in a volume of collected papers.


Organizing committee:

Dr. Anu Mänd (Tallinn)
Prof. Kersti Markus (Tallinn)
Prof. Uwe Albrecht (Kiel)

Financial support:

Art Museum of Estonia
Estonian Cultural Endowment
Estonian Science Foundation
M.C.A. Böckler-Mare Balticum-Stftung


Dr. Herman Bengtsson (Upplandsmuseet, Uppsala)
Prof. Jan von Bonsdorff (University of Uppsala)
Dr. Till-Holger Borchert (Groeningemuseum, Brugge)
Assistant Prof. Elina Gertsman (Southern Illinois University)
Associate Prof. Markus Hiekkanen (University of Helsinki)
Miriam Hoffmann, M.A. (Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel)
Martin Wangsgaard Jürgensen, M.A. (University of Copenhagen)
Gerrit Lembke, M.A. (Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel)
Dr. Thomas Lentes (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster)
Prof. Lena Liepe (University of Oslo)
Dr. Imke Lüders (Kiel)
Dr. Anu Mänd (Institute of History of Tallinn University)
Prof. Kersti Markus (Institute of History of Tallinn University)
Dr. Ulrike Nürnberger (Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel)
Dr. Kerstin Petermann (Hamburg)
Elina Räsänen, M.A. (University of Helsinki)
Anja Rasche, M.A. (Speyer)
Dr. Jan Friedrich Richter (Research project “Corpus der mittelalterlichen Holzskulptur und Tafelmalerei in Schleswig-Holstein”)
Prof. emer. Jan Svanberg (Universities of Oslo and Stockholm)
Julia Trinkert, M.A. (Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel)
Dr. Arnulf von Ulmann (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg)
Dr. des. Kathrin Wagner (University of Cardiff)
Dr. des. Susanne Warda (University of Hamburg)