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Hans Niessenberger

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An architect of the latter part of the Middle Ages, whose name is mentioned with comparative frequency in contemporaneous literature. But information about his personality and his works is somewhat more difficult to find. It seems however, that he was born in Gratz, Styria ("Seckauer Kirchenschmuck", 1880, p. 56). He worked on the choir of the Freiburg cathedral from 1471 to 1480; in the latter year he was compelled to leave the task of building and to swear that he would not try to revenge himself for this. In 1480 he worked on the church of St. Leonhard at Basle; in 1482, on the cathedral at Strasburg ; and in the following year he probably was engaged on the great cathedral of Milan with a yearly salary of 180 guilders — at least there is a "Johannes of Graz" mentioned as architect in Ricci, "Storia dell' archit. italiana", II, 388. The choir at Freiburg was turned over to him in 1471; the contract is interesting and instructive showing as it does the manner in which buildings of this kind were erected during the latter part of the Middle Ages, and how the working hours, wages, etc., were determined upon (Schreiber, "Münster zu Freiburg ", Appendix, 15 sq.). The choir possesses great beauty, but it also manifests the peculiarities of Late Gothic. It is long, like the main church, with the nave higher, the side aisles lower and somewhat narrower than in the front, and surrounded by twelve chapels, enclosed on two sides by fluted columns. The arched roof, supported by beautifully carved columns, forms a network. The windows are characteristically Late Gothic, and the arches are wonderfully delicate. The whole is the work of a master.

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