Urban Humanities


Published: January 1, 2009
Publisher: Brepols

Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ, c. 1270-1600

This is the first comprehensive book on the architecture and imagery of late medieval sacrament houses, those dazzlingly complex microarchitectural structures designed for the paraliturgical reservation and display of the eucharistic and ‘real present’ body of Christ. The study is embedded in a discussion of sacramental theology and devotion, and traces the development of this genre of furnishing from the introduction of the Corpus Christi feast in 1264 to the first decades of the Counter-Reformation, from the Low Countries to Hungary and the Saxon settlements of Transylvania, from the Swedish island of Gotland to the Swiss Canton of Graubünden. Much of the argument is devoted to such major sacrament houses as those in Leuven’s Pieterskerk (1450) or St. Lorenz in Nuremberg (1493-6), though provincial solutions like the dugout tabernacles of the Brandenburg Marches are equally considered. The book is intended as a contribution to the study of both Gothic microarchitecture and the role of the visual in late medieval devotional culture.


Achim Timmermann