beate eismann

Magdeburg Cathedral

Competition on the Re-shaping of the Altar of Catherine in the Magdeburg Cathedral, 2009

The Altar of Catherine, built in 1311, is situated in front of the late Gothic choir screen in the main axis of the nave, and through its architecture, it creates an exciting relationship with it. Since its consecration it is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Until today, the Altar of Catherine displays clearly visible gaps between the pinnacles of the upper part and the central niche which indicate most painfully to the loss of former decoration. There are no documents which give us any information on how the original design of the altar might have looked like.

Therefore, the re-shaping of the altar aimed at an artistic “filling” of those gaps.

This contest did not intend to achieve any historicizing design, but wanted to bring about a contemporary interpretation which was to equal the dignity and value of the Cathedral as well as to suit a very practical use during services.

The procedure was single-staged and limited, and the board of trustees invited certain artists to participate in it.