Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald,
Misericordia International,
Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Choir stalls and their workshops

Greifswald, 23. — 26. June 2016

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Choir stalls were not only simple seating for the priests and monks. With their highly complex imaging systems they were also one of the most important and demanding artistic tasks in medieval cathedrals, monastic churches, and even parishes. In recent years, research has focused primarily on iconographic questions and formal and stylistic analysis, as has the research of Misericordia International. There are very few studies dedicated to the workshops and their working conditions. Therefore this year the Misericordia International conference in Greifswald will deal with the workshop context of the choir stalls for the first time. In addition to questions about substantive and economic mechanisms of art production the conference examines basic knowledge of craftsmanship the use of drawings and models in the production of choir stalls.

The target group of the conference includes researchers in art history, economic and technical history, image based working historians and conservators.

The venue Greifswald is chosen wisely. North Germany has a rich choir landscape whose research is a rewarding task. Nevertheless, despite work by relevant scientists that wealth is not well known, let alone scientifically. The colloquium will thus stimulate a reinterpretation of the liturgical furniture and provide new impulses.

Call for Abstracts


Misericordia International is an international multidisciplinary network for broadbased research on choir stalls. Starting from the artistic design the studies dedicate to the relationship with other artistic elaborations and their proliferation in the Middle Ages and more recent times. The intensive exchange with scientists of neighbouring disciplines shows relations between subjects of investigation and creates new impetus to the exploration of the choir stalls. The basis for a scientific exchange is a bi-annual international conference. The next colloquium takes place in Greifswald in June 2016. It focuses on the medieval artistic production and all questions related to the working practice in workshops for choir stalls. It is a common art historical method to identify a master-workshop relation by means of stylistic analysis. But there are further questions and new approaches to shed light on the artistic dynamics in medieval workshops.

The organisers particularly welcome papers that:

• examine collaboration between carpenters, sculptors and painters during work in progress;

• present new archival research;

• deal with inscriptions and used typography on choir stalls;

• answer business-related questions;

• discuss mechanisms for the spread of new styles and techniques, e.g. marquetry, and how the innovative features were transmitted,

• investigate the merger of regional characteristics because of migrant craftsmen;

• illuminate the problem of art centre and periphery;

• discuss the phenomenon monastery workshop or

• review methodological approaches.

Also welcome are contributions regarding recent eras, as well as papers that deal with sample books and/or the phenomenon of church decorators in the late 19th century. Participants from different fields are welcome, including, but not limited to art history and technical history, material studies, restoration and conservation studies, and sociology.

The Call for Abstracts is now closed.



Conference language

Presentations will be held in English and German. Bilingual abstracts are provided.


Thursday, 23. June 2016

12.30 Registration


13.00 Frédéric Billet, President of Misericordia International (Sorbonne Paris): Welcome

13:10 Gerhard Weilandt (Universität Greifswald): Introduction

Section I Workshop practices

Chair: Frédéric Billet

13.20 Thomas Eißing (University Bamberg): Holzverbindungen und Holzartenauswahl als Quelle zur Erforschung historischer Handwerkstechniken - Eine methodische Einführung

14.00 Anja Seliger (Cluster of Excellence Image Knowledge Gestaltung Berlin): To get an idea – Visualization as a starting point in the manufacturing process

14.40 Break

14.50 Angela Glover (University of Toronto): Module as Model for Early Modern Choir Stalls

15.30 Kristiane Lemé-Hébuterne (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens): Big seats for fat Benedictines, small ones for slender Cistercians? – Some statistics on the size

16.10 Break

Section II 16th and 17th century choir stalls – tradition or restart?

Chair: N.N.

16.25 Volker Dietzel (Dresden): Berufsbezeichnungen und Werkzeugnamen der Tischler, Schreiner und Kistler

17.05 Ulrich Knapp (Leonberg): The Choir stalls of Salem Cistercian Monastery Church as testimony of liturgical and economical reforms (1588 till 1593)

17.45 Jörg Lampe (Academy of Science Göttingen): The choir stalls of the monasteries of Pöhlde and St. Alexandri in Einbeck – Observations on their time of origin from an epigraphical and historical point of View

18.25 Break

Keynote Lecture

19.00 Dorothee Heim (Berlin): An international entrepreneur in Spain around 1500 - The carver Rodrigo Alemán and his choir stalls

NB: Different room for keynote lecture!

20.15 Get-together

Friday, 24. June 2016

09.30 Registration and welcome coffee

Section III Choir stalls made of stone - a forgotten furniture

Chair: Jens Rüffer

10.00 Jörg Widmaier (University Tübingen): The stone bench of Burs – Gotland’s masonry in context and their connections to the main land

10.40 Erika Loic (University Harvard): Liturgical Activation of Master Mateo’s Stone Choir in Santiago de Compostela

11.20 Break

11.40 James Alexander Cameron (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London): Reflexivity between stone sedilia and ecclesiastical carpentry in medieval England

Section IV Authorship and groups of work – case studies

Chair: Anja Seliger

12.20 Willy Piron (Radboud University, Nijmegen): The bilobate misericords of the Lower-Rhine area - A local phenomenon?

13.00 Lunch Break

14.20 Christel Theunissen (Radboud University Nijmegen): Jan Borchman and his fellow craftsmen. The creation of choir stalls in the Low Countries

15.00 Barbara Spanjol-Pandelo (University of Rijeka): Matteo Moronzon – An artist or a project manager of a woodcarving workshop?

Chair: Gerhard Weilandt

15.40 Gerdi Maierbacher-Legl (HAWK-FH-Hildesheim): Das Chorgestühl von 1537 aus Tobsdorf/Dupus in Siebenbürgen/Rumänien. Aspekte der Werktechnik und Bezüge zum Schäßburger Meister Johannes Reychmut

16.20 Break

16.40 Detlef Witt (Greifswald): Anklam - An example of stalls in parish churches in Pomeranian

17.20 Kaja von Cossart (Drechow): The choir and other 13th century furniture in the Cistercian Monastery Doberan

18.00 Final discussion

18.45 General meeting of the Misericordia International members

20.00 Get-together

Saturday, 25. June 2016

Whole-day excursion

Meeting point: 8.00 bus terminal Greifswald

9.30 Bad Doberan, Münster, former Cistercian Monastery Church

11.30 Retschow, Village Church

12.30 Rostock, Monastery Church Holy Cross, now the church of Rostock University and Museum

Departure 15.30

16.00 Ribnitz-Damgarten, Monastery Church

18.00 Departure to Greifswald

Sunday, 26. June 2016

Half-day excursion to Stralsund

Meeting point: 8 am train station Greifswald

The guided walking tour through Stralsund includes a visit to the inside of the roof. Please dress appropriately for the weather and the roof visit – it might be dusty and have a narrow stair way.

• Church St. Nikolai

• Historical Museum Stralsund (St. Catherine’s Monastery)

• Church St. Jacobi (Depot)

End of the conference approximately 15.00.



We kindly ask for a binding registration by 17.06.2016. Please declare at registration if you want to participate on the excursions and which one. You can choose the full-day excursion an Saturday 25.06.2016 (Bus) and/or the half-day excursion (train) to Stralsund on Sunday 26.06.2016. The entrance to the conference is free but for the excursions a fee is required. The fee includes all entrances for churches and museums and the train ticket. 40 Euros for the bus excursion on Saturday 20 Euros for the half-day excursion on Sunday (Train)

You can register here or send an E-mail to


Greifswald provides a wide range of accommodations right in the historic centre and at short distance to the old university campus where the conference takes place. More information on Greifswald and hotels can be found

Greifswald Information

Rathaus / Markt

17498 Greifswald

Tel.: +49 (0)3834 521-380

Fax: +49 (0)3834 521-382





Thursday and Friday, 23.-24. June 2016 Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

Konferenzsaal at Mainbuilding University Greifswald

Domstraße 11 / Entrance 2

17489 Greifswald


Thursday 23. June 2016 19.00

Aula at Mainbuilding University Greifswald

Domstraße 11 / Entrance 2

17489 Greifswald

map ↓ [How to get there]

Greifswald is easy to reach by train. Greifswald main station is at short distance both to the historic city centre and the University.

From Berlin to Greifswald you can catch the train at Berlin Main station or Berlin Gesundbrunnen. Trains go each hour and the journey lasts about 2,5 hours. The price for a single way ticket without any reduction is approximately 30 € (RE), 39 € (IC/EC). Most convenient is the Ostsee-Ticket. You can reach Greifswald also from the direction of Hamburg via Stralsund, Lübeck or Rostock. Travelling time is about 3,5 to 5 hours, depending on the chosen train. Tickets cost about 42 and 54 € (single way, no reduction). You can by tickets online -


Legal Notice

A Conference organized by the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut and Misericordia International in collaboration with Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory« and funded by German Research Foundation (DFG)


Logo Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University AMD

Logo Netzwerk Misericordia International

Logo Exzellenzcluster Bild Wissen Gestaltung

Concept and Organization

Anja Seliger M.A., Research Associate, »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Weilandt, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut

Layout & Design

Johannes Herseni, Interface Designer, »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«

Babette Wiezorek, Product Designer, »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«


Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin