Art: Out of Gothic, into the Future

Veit Stoss's carvings are the revelation of a Nuremberg show

The loan exhibition of "Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg, 1300-1550," on view at New York City's Metropolitan Museum through June 22, is the kind of show that one hopes to see in a great encyclopedic institution like the Met. It is not, in the common show-biz sense, a blockbuster. It takes a fascinating but unfamiliar subject and handles it with immense art- historical skill. It enlarges one's sense of civilization.

When Albrecht Durer, Nuremberg's best-known artist, saw a collection of pre- Columbian gold that had been brought from the New World in the early 16th century, he marveled at "the...

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