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2 Alabaster in Netherlandish Sculpture from the Late Gothic to the Early Baroque

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is devoted to identifying the place of alabaster in Netherlandish sculpture over more than three centuries of its unquestioned 'career'. In the early Middle Ages, alabaster was used as a sculpture material only sporadically, but from c. 1300 onwards there was a clear rise of interest in it. Production of alabaster retables by English workshops was halted by the Reformation, but the material itself continued to be used extensively in Early Modern English sepulchral sculpture. What is certainly beyond doubt is the significance of the English raw material for the development of alabaster sculpture in the Netherlands. English alabaster was an important export resource used by many sculptors on the continent, among them Southern Netherlandish albastwerkers. Examined side by side, works from the medieval centres of alabaster sculpture demonstrate considerable homogeneity in their typology.

Keywords: alabaster; albastwerkers; Netherlandish sculpture; typology

10.1163/9789004277083_004
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