jump to navigation
  • Love Goddess #10: Lactating German Virtues May 25, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern , trackback


    Another love goddess, though this time from Germany. If you go to Nuremberg and make sure you don’t get distracted by recent traumatic events there (trials, fire storms etc) you will discover a beautiful medievalish city in the heart of Bavaria. On the edge of Lorenzer Platz you will find perhaps the most curious fountain in Western Europe (I look forward to being contradicted: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com). Created in 1589 by Benedikt Wurzelbauer there are the seven virtues, justice on high with the six ancillary virtues beneath in a circle. So far, so normal, a bit of early modern posturing about good government and good morals. You know: be nice to the kids, burn witches, don’t steal too much… But, these are not just statues, they are also, as noted, fountains and that means that the water somehow has to leave the virtues and reach the pool below.
    Now each of the lower six virtues sprays water. However, the designer chose a particularly unusual orifice: the breast. In fact, the virtues, with interestingly the exception of blindfolded and staid justice lactate their qualities and all you have do is go to the rim, look up, open your mouth and receive your fill. The effect is stunning, unintentionally comic and, yet, strangely moving, not least because this work of art came within an ace of being destroyed in Allied bombing raids: most surrounding buildings were incinerated but the seven made their way through to become a symbol of a resurgent Germany, long may she prosper. The six lower figures are quite varied – apart from the constant of super-lactation – but the connosieur of love goddesses will find that Faith (below right in profile) is the most coquettish of them all. Somehow I doubt that Wurzelbauer meant it to turn out that way.

    hope and faith
    If you are thinking, what the hell, then do remember that Christianity had no problems with body fluids. Christ shares his blood on a regular basis with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful in the miracle of the mass: in fact, there is a remarkable image from the Middle Ages of Christians sucking his blood with a straw. Then images of saints spraying breast milk to the community of the blessed were not unknown in the Middle Ages. Beach refers the interested to a previous post on this subject, curiously one of the most popular on strangehistory apparently because of a large international community of ‘adult breast-feeders’ that Google, in its wisdom, sends our way.

    A stereoscopic image from this site follows.

    stereoscopic tugendbrunnen


    28 May 2014: Loretta writes in with some details about an adjacent fountain  ‘Maybe not a real ‘love goddess’, but ‘virtues, vices and probably a mix of both’, in addition definitely a ‘curious fountain’, can be found in Nuremberg just a few meters away from Lorenzer Platz: The ‘Matrimonial Merry-go-round’ -till death does part you- from the late 1970ies. A certain strange historic tradition seems evident here, so feel free to check out the evidence for ‘Ehekarussell.’ Tacitus, meanwhile, from Detritus: If you are in the area, perhaps to behold the mammary charms of the Lorenzer Platz fountain, stroll on over to the Schoner Brunnen fountain near the Town Hall. No exposed breasts that I can recall, but it does have depictions of Liberal Arts, Church Fathers, Electors, the Nine Worthies, etc. Oh, and a shiny brass ring set into the fencing.  Rotate it once full circle and you will allegedly have luck/a wish granted. If you are standing next to the Town Hall anyway, they sometimes give tours of a swell Debtors Prison underneath.  It is said that once a tunnel ran all the way from there to the Castle… Thanks Tacitus and Loretta!