Chapter 3 The Exterior of Nürnberg’s Rathaus and the Art of Good Government

In: Emblems in the Free Imperial City
Author:
Jeffrey Chipps Smith
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Abstract

Nürnberg’s Rathaus, like other early modern city halls, served as its administrative center. Yet it also embodied the civic identity of one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful towns in the Holy Roman Empire. It hosted imperial diets and other important gatherings in the Great Hall. My paper addresses the building’s architectural history from 1332 to 1622 and the exterior decorative campaigns of 1520–21/22 and 1616/17. The mural paintings and sculptures on the east, south, and west facades, collectively comprising the public face of the Rathaus, symbolically proclaimed Nürnberg’s civic aspirations and the wise rule of its council.

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