Joint Research Project on the Golden Panel from Lüneburg

The “Golden Panel” from the Landesmuseum Hannover is considered one of the most important works from the period of the International Gothic around 1400. It once served as the retable of the high altar in the church of the Benedictine abbey of St. Michaelis zu Lüneburg. Between 2012 and 2016, a group of art historians, historians, conservators and scientists worked together closely to investigate the altarpiece in detail, before restoring the piece, with work being completed in 2019. With its expertise in the fields of conservation and restoration and in art history, the Gemäldegalerie was able to support the project both in terms of securing funding as well as carrying out the project.

The collection of the Landesmuseum Hannover has preserved two wings of the altarpiece with lavishly coloured statuettes in a shrine architecture of the highest quality, along with six painted sections featuring a series of pictures depicting 36 scenes from the life and Passion of Jesus contained in the first display side of the winged altarpiece. This four-year project, which received significant financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation, sought to carry out a comprehensive art-historical and technological investigation of the work, which was to then serve as a foundation for the ensuing restoration of the piece. Dr Stephan Kemperdick oversaw the project from an art-historical perspective, while conservator-restorer Dr Babette Hartwieg was involved in the systematic on-site technological investigations and oversaw the restoration work. The project informed an exhibition at the Landesmuseum Hannover. A number of the key outcomes of the project were shared with the research community in publications.

Antje-Fee Köllermann and Christine Unsinn (eds.): “Die Goldene Tafel aus Lüneburg”, Niederdeutsche Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte, vols. 5/6), Petersberg, 2021.

In this publication:

  • Babette Hartwieg: “Die Bildvorbereitung an der Goldenen Tafel: Technologische Befunde zu Leinwandbeklebung, Grundierung, Unterzeichnung und Zwischenschichten”, pp. 250–270.
  • Babette Hartwieg: “Blattmetallauflagen und deren Verzierungen auf den Altarflügeln der Goldenen Tafel”, pp. 271–285.
  • Ramona Roth: “Die Brokatimitationen der Goldenen Tafel”, pp. 250–299.

Babette Hartwieg: “The Goldene Tafel from Lüneburg, c. 1420: New Findings about Painting Process and Characteristics”, in: Anne Dubois, Jacqueline Couvert, and Till-Holger Borchert (eds.): Technical Studies of Paintings: Problems of Attribution (15th-17th Centuries): Papers presented at the Nineteenth Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting held in Bruges, 11-13 September 2014, Paris/Leuven/Bristol 2018, pp. 160–176.

Objectives and outcomes: Research into, and restoration of, the “Golden Table”, including its position in the context of the International Gothic around the year 1400
Project overseen by: Landesmuseum Hannover, Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Lead researchers: Dr Babette Hartwieg (Head of conservation at the Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, here as an expert advisor on painting and as the chair of the expert advisory panel), Dr Stephan Kemperdick (Curator of German, Netherlandish, and French Paintings before 1600, Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Dr Antje-Fee Köllermann (Project management and curator of Old Masters at the Landesmuseum Hannover)
Collaboration partners: Städel Cooperative Professorship at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Hildesheim University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK)
Funding: Volkswagen Foundation; Klosterkammer Hannover
Project duration: 2012 to 2016 (Phase 1), 2016 to 2019 (Phase 2)