the south ambulatory
Lintel stones are placed on the south walls of the south ambulatory. These belonged to the interior portal of the building forming an upper part of it. In a dwelling house of a wealthy citizen in medieval Tallinn, a narrow downstairs leads from heated living spaces at the ground floor (so called dörnzest) to a cellar. There was a small interior portal in front of these downstairs.
Interior portals were not preserved at their initial places by the reasons of reconstruction works performed mainly in the 19th century (one of few exclusions is at Town Hall Square 18). During the restoration work of last years, some interior portals were removed to their initial places. For instance the supporting interior portal dedicated to Hans Visant from 1513 in the building of present Town Museum. This interior portal of stick-element depiction is an example of Tallinn interior portals from the beginning of the 16th century till the first half of the 17th century.
Framework in stick-style was developed into main motive of Tallinn interior portals including some German and Polish examples of wood-carving art.
Interior portals express a self-consciousness, property and family pride of a citizen of that time.
Lintel stones were plentifully decorated with ornaments including an emblem or armorial bearings of the landlord. Sometimes dates and name of the landlord were also inscribed like on Vianti interior portal.
1. Let’s start our observation from a rarely beautiful lintel stone in a late gothic style made of Saaremaa dolomite in the beginning of the 16th century. General design and separate motives (crabs, spirals, sticks) and very high qualities of finishing that allows to dedicate this masterpiece to G. Koningk. Gert Koningk was a leading master in Tallinn stone sculpture in 1515-1531. His creation is the nice coat of arms in late gothic forms on the Great Coast Gate dated 1529, elegant pinnacles and ornamental decorations of the Mary’s Chapel of St.Olaus’ Church.
2. The entire depiction at the second lintel stone is made in the stick-style. Vertically and horizontally placed paired sticks cover nearly the whole lintel stone forming a coffer surface enriched with chiaroscuro. There are two coats armoured on five vertical sticks in the centre of the stone. Family emblem is depicted on one of these and coat emblem on another.
3. The third is a lintel stone dated 1542 that is furnished with landlord emblem and coat of arms belonging to the alderman Hans von Wehren. Here we can see a very typical to the development of art at the beginning of the 16th century feature - preservation of some gothic elements in the stick-style framework during the renaissance period.
4. Lintel stone from a plumber’s house dated by the beginning of the 16th century is a sole known lintel stone with figural composition. The clothing of the figures is from the 16th century (biretta, doublet, spurs). The relief is low, gathers and faces are renovated, finishing is primitive. This lintel stone very obviously belonged to some plumber’s house because there was lot of pewters in Tallinn in the beginning of the 16th century. There was even a street dedicated to pewters (Kannengeterstrasse). Many of them were landlords as well.
5. The fifth lintel stone is dated by 1569. Surface of this lintel stone that is bordered with sticks is divided into two squares. There are relief armoured coats with family emblems in renaissance style on both of the squares. On the right square one can see the date 1569 and on the left, a unicorn and a lion (the unicorn and lion are protecting the house).
Figural relieves on the north wall of the South Ambulatory form an interesting group - “Adam and Eve” right opposite the entrance and “Idolatry of a blind-worn”. The relief “Adam and Eve” was found in 1931 at the demolition of a house at Viru St. 11. A scene in the Garden of Eden is depicted on the relief - crown of a trunk tree with branches, heart-form leafs and apples are masterly depicted. A worn with a woman’s head is turned around the tree, having a branch with apples in its mouth. Adam is standing on one side of the tree and Eve on another. The figures are naked, their finishing is primitive, proportions are clumsy, poses are archaic and static. Faces are also finished in a primitive way but their hair and Adam’s beard are finished in a delicate graphical way.
Depiction of a nude is very new. Nude is a feature peculiar to renaissance art. Let’s remind, for instance, “Adam and Eve” by Dourer from 1504. The static composition of the relief is also very close to renaissance.
“Idolatry of a blind-worn” belongs to the same period and probably to the same master. A scene from the Old Testament is depicted on it - handing over of two tables to Moses and idolatry of a blindworm.
Next we can see carved stone slabs with renaissance ornamentation from the centre of the 16th century. A small colonette (stick-style elements) with spiral finishing is running on one edge of the first rectangle-mode narrow and tall relief. The surface of the slab is covered by a renaissance-relief in mauresque style, in centre of which there is a coat of arms with family emblem and initials. Finishing of the relief is clear and masterful.
A low relief with a winter-ornament in renaissance style is depicted on the fragment of another stone slab. This relief is found at Vana Toomas/Old Thomas street during the cleaning of ruins.