Beuronese Art

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A school founded in the Benedictine archabbey of beuron by Desiderius lenz, sculptor and architect. Beginning in 1864, Lenz developed his concepts in actual art projects and still more in sketches and theoretical treatises. Work was carried on from 1894 by the Beuron school, after G. Wüger and L. Steiner had associated themselves with it. Lenz aimed at an integral, liturgically inspired ecclesiastical art. Rejecting the dominant tendency of the period toward naturalism, he reverted to primitive Christian, early Greek, and especially Egyptian art. A more immediate influence was that of the German Nazarene school. He developed an aesthetic geometry in order to discover the primordial dimensions in nature and those of the human body. In looking to ancient sources as a starting point for modern religious art and architecture, the monastic artists of the Beuron school envisioned a religious art that was to be ordered and serene, hieratic in conception and style. The principal Beuronese monument is the St. Maur Chapel near Beuron (186871). In the last quarter of the 19th century, extensive projects of decoration were carried out in Monte Cassino and in churches in Prague. After the decoration of the Monte Cassino crypt church in 1913, Beuronese art suffered a steady decline that terminated in extinction. Despite its fate, however, the Beuronese school may be considered one of the forerunners in the movement for renewal of Church art and architecture in the twentieth century.

Bibliography: Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous, Bel., S. Benedictus (Ghent 1880), pls. Benedictine Abbey of Emmaus, Prague, Leben und Regel des heiligen Vaters Benedictus (Prague 1901), illus. a. pÖllmann, Vom Wesen der hieratischen Kunst (Beuron 1905). g. prezzolini, La teoria e l'arte di Beuron (Siena 1908). s. m. vismara, La nuova arte di Beuron (Rome 1913). j. kreitmaier, Beuroner Kunst: Eine Audrucksform der christlichen Mystik (5th ed. Freiburg 1923). d. lenz, Zur Aesthetik der Beuroner Schule (Vienna 1927). c. kniel, Leben und Regel des heiligen Vaters Benediktus (Beuron 1929), pls. g. mercier, L'Art abstrait dans l'art sacré (Paris 1964) 3032.

[u. engelmann]