Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

History of Art

First Advisor

Larry Silver


This study investigates the artistic network of merchants in the Hanse trade organization from ca. 1400-1530. Also known as the Hanseatic League, the Hanse functioned as a late-medieval trading organization before the advent of early modern global trade. As a critical node in the extensive Hanse trade network, the city of Lübeck, Germany stood unrivaled artistically and economically by any other cities in the Baltic region. Strongly connected to mercantile ports across the Baltic and North Seas, as well as inland to Westphalia and Cologne, Lübeck merchants bought, negotiated, and transported art from workshops across network lines. This dissertation uses both the urban image of Lübeck and carved and painted altarpieces as models for artistic transactions in the Hanse during the “Golden Age” of Lübeck in the fifteenth century. As the first study to investigate Lübeck art across multiple media within the Hanse network, this dissertation reveals the decisive roles merchants played as consumers and agents in the production, mobility, and use of works of art in the Baltic region. Like Venice and Nuremberg to the south and Antwerp to the west, Lübeck’s local and extraterritorial mercantile networks were instrumental in fueling an art market and crafting a civic identity in the late-medieval trade city.