Baptismal font

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If we look more closely at the surviving photograph of the baptismal font with four puttos that was in the baptistery and the figures and ornamentation adorning the font’s cupola, Ackermann’s authorship becomes dubious: the cutting line appears to be too soft even compared to Ackermann’s early works, and the treatment of the figures in terms of body postures, faces and garment details differs from the master’s other works.

The baptismal font could provide a better opportunity for ascribing the baptismal chamber to Ackermann since the figures of the naked little boys who formed the foot of the font are a motif that is often found in Ackermann’s works. Unfortunately, there is only a photograph of the baptismal font. The most important part of the baptismal chamber was stolen in 1987 – the carved baptismal font resting on four little boys.

It is nevertheless possible even on the basis of the photograph to state that Ackermann was not the author of this work. The little boys were carved masterfully, yet a number of differences stand out when comparing their heads and the heads of the puttos on the lid of the baptismal font to Ackermann’s other corbel puttos. Even if the bodies of the baptismal font’s boys with their rounded forms resemble Ackermann’s statues in the photograph, the faces of the little boys are different. Yet it is precisely the putto heads in Ackermann’s oeuvre that demonstrate a particular type of child’s head that remained constant throughout the master’s career.

1 year ago