Erhard Küng

(fl. 1458)

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(fl Berne, 1458; d Berne, after Easter 1506). German architect. He probably came from the part of Westphalia that was formerly Netherlandish, but he was resident in Berne by 1458 and is mentioned as the son-in-law of the captain Hans Wanner. From 1460 until his death he was a member of the Great Council of Berne. After working for a long time as a sculptor and probably as Master of the Works at the minster, he was appointed town architect for life in 1479. He succeeded Moritz Ensinger (see Ensinger, (3)) as architect at the minster in 1482. The high parts of the central vessel of the nave, probably including the vaulting, were built under his direction. He also completed the north and south aisles after the demolition of the old tower, erecting two more bays, and built a wooden screen with decorative staircase turrets between the choir and the nave. He continued the west tower, which had been begun by his predecessors, up to the start of the octagon (completed 1588; second octagonal storey added 1891–3). A circle of interpenetrating ogee arches marks the point where his work ends. The sculptural decoration of the west portal and porch is also in his style, although his contribution to the execution of the portal decoration is disputed. The richest figurative decoration is found on the west portal, and the porch vaults consist of richly moulded and curved ribs. All his work on Berne Minster is ornamented with the most mature and boldest Late Gothic features: fantastic net vaults, delicately decorated and twisting colonnettes, and rich sculptural decoration. In 1500, owing to his age, he was assigned an assistant, and in 1505 the city appointed Peter Pfister (d c. 1520) from Basle as his successor.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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