George Rice Carpenter
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Bähr, Georg (1666–1738). One of the most gifted architects of the Baroque in Germany, he was born in Fürstenwalde, Saxony, and trained as a carpenter, becoming Ratszimmermeister (Master Carpenter) to the City of Dresden in 1705. He was responsible for the Pfarrkirche (Parish Church) at Loschwitz, near Dresden (1705–8), which was a variation of the Baroque ellipse on plan (being a distorted octagon), the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Church of the Holy Trinity) at Schmiedeberg, south of Dresden (1713–16), and the Dorfkirche (Village Church) at Forchheim, near Chemnitz (1719–26), both of which are Greek crosses on plan. His reputation rests on his greatest work, the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Dresden (1722–43), the finest centrally planned Protestant church ever conceived. On the strength of that one building (one of the most grievous losses of the bombing of Dresden in 1944–5—reconstructed 1996–2005), Bähr must be considered a master of the Baroque style, fully in control of complex geometries and structure, who gave Dresden a great domed church that rose majestically by the banks of the Elbe. The plan was, in essence, circular, but set inside a square, with the chancel within part of an ellipse, and with staircases, capped with elegant turrets, placed diagonally in relation to the square four corners. Eight massive piers supported the very high stone-vaulted dome with its huge lantern, and, between those piers, three tiers of galleries were fitted, the fronts of the lowest tier being glazed, and known as Bettstübchen (Little Bedrooms), Hoflogen (Court Boxes), or Ranglogen (Gallery Boxes). The altar was given prominence by being raised on a platform, while the organ-pipes rose up behind it, increasing the theatrical effects of a stunning interior. This building was the epitome of the Protestant auditory church.
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George Rice Carpenter