Altar design
(814 words)

As the most important item of liturgical furniture in Christian church interior, the altar in its fundamental form comprises only a supporting structure (Latin stipes) and a table slab (Latin mensa). In Modern-Period written sources, however, the term “altar” is more frequently used synonymously with its decoration. The German term Altarbaukunst is not attested historically; the first comprehensive German study devoted to the stylistic development of altars under that term appeared in 1923 [2]. Studies in the context of art history embrace the development of the a…

Cite this page
Reuter, Guido, “Altar design”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 19 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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