December 2017. Jacek and I decided on a whim to go to Munich just after Christmas and just before new year’s eve. We had some sort of hope I seem to remember that the Christmas market would still be on – after all the twelve days of the Christmas season start on the 25th, but no, Germany, just like the rest of the modern world, has decided to celebrate Christ’s coming during advent rather than after his birthday. Ah well. We went anyway, and just in time to see he market traders clearing up. However, all was not lost, despite not being able to drink gluhwein whilst sightseeing, because there were no crowds to mar our enjoyment, and no rain, so we could look up and enjoy the architectural delights of the Marienplatz. I am not at all sure what the stone sculptures on this roof represent, but I am always enthralled by the fact that people used to have the time and the wherewithal to so profoundly decorate the simplest and largest things.
This is the façade of the …? I should know and perhaps I should look it up, but maybe someone will tell me. In the meantime I love it for its proportions, its patterns, its delicacy. I know that sometimes it helps to understand the background and context of what you are looking at, and intellectually it is better. But for sheer emotional response it is sometimes just enough to look. I remember when I was doing my A levels and at University reading English literature, we were encouraged to look very closely at what was written, and respond to the language and how it affected all the senses. In a way we had to ignore historical context, and fashions and the influences on the author. It was all about style. And now that is how I approach architecture. I can pinpoint some styles to within a century or two – sometimes. But do I need to do more?.
I remember it was a very cold day, but as you can see sunny with a few pretty little clouds wandering past. The size of this frontage is overwhelming, yet very inviting. We wandered around the square and I tried to take some photos of what caught my eye.
The humour of this bell tower is delightful. There is a magnificent brewery and restaurant at the bottom of this building. We went for a superb but very large meal there, of course, before going back to our not very wonderful hotel. On the way back though we passed the Freuenkirche with these magnificent doors.
Finally, one of the best carvings I have ever seen. Again, I plead total ignorance about it, but on a very visceral level I find it very moving. At first I thought it was a Pieta, but I have just looked back at my Instagram post three years ago, where I was disabused of this supposition. Apparently it is by Hans Krumper, made in 1620. It is the Lamentations of Job, from the Old Testament. He is with his wife; the devil is holding his hand, with his friends in the background. A very powerful image, don’t you agree?
All in all we spent four very cold but very interesting days in Munich. It is one of the places I would love to go back to, but maybe when it is slightly warmer!