A contribution by
A former Senior Curator of sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the V&A, the University of Glasgow and Durham University.
She has published widely in the field of sculpture.
The baroque churches in Central Europe, especially in Bavaria, abound in spectacular sculptures. Anyone visiting them is struck by their animated poses and facial expressions, their carved costumes adorned with a profusion of colour and gilding. Draperies flutter and putti hover, sometimes carved in wood, sometimes modelled in stucco, sometimes cast in metal. Such sculptures are almost always shown in magnificent contexts: vast ecclesiastical spaces whose architectural splendour complements and emphasises the altarpieces and figures of saints. I was led to write the present book because I had long been struck by the surprising paucity of books in English on these spectacular sculptures. That deficiency in anglophone publications meant that many students failed to take an interest in this branch of art history, and equally travellers visited such churches all too infrequently. And not only the churches, but the contemporary virtuoso small-scale sculpture produced in what is today Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, is likewise compelling. This book aims to open up this area of art history, and at the same time serve as a scholarly reference book. Although writing a survey of this immense field was an ambitious challenge, I hope it will be only the starting point for future studies.