14 May MEDIEVAL, GOTHIC, RENAISSANCE AND BAROQUE WORKS OF ART
A FINE FRENCH GOTHIC IVORY DIPTYCH, the leaf on the left carved in high relief with a full-length standing figure of the Virgin and Child between flanking figures of candle-bearing angels, above two descending half-figures of angels playing musical instruments and a third half-figure of an angel placing a crown on the Virgin’s head; the leaf on the right similarly carved with a representation of the Crucifixion between the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist, the Virgin wringing her veil and turning her head away in distress, above two descending half-figures of sorrowing angels and a third half-figure of an angel holding symbols of the sun and moon, both scenes between pointed trifoliate arches with cricketed gables and spandrels with trefoil piercings, first half of 14th Century, hinges later and broken.
The present ivory belongs to a group of diptychs identified by Koehler, Les Ivories Gothiques, as being characterised by full-length figures of the Virgin with an open veil standing beneath a single arch. A diptych from this group is in the British Museum and Koehler lists six other intact examples . Stylistically, how-ever, the present ivory is closer to a single leaf in the Louvre, in which the Virgin’s veil is similarly open but the single arch is replaced by an arcade. For an ivory showing the Virgin turning her head away in distress.
A RHENISH GOTHIC IVORY PLAQUE , from a writing
tablet, carved in low relief with a representation of the
Crucifixion, to the left of the Cross the figure of the
swooning Virgin supported by three women, to the
right the figure of St. John the Evangelist with the
figures of two Jews behind, ail beneath a trefoil
cricketed and gabled arch with tracery spandrels,
middle of 14th Century.
The presence of three women supporting the swooning Virgin, rather than the customary two, and the filling of the spandrels with architectural motifs are characteristic of German ivory carving of the Gothic period.
A FRENCH IVORY DIPTYCH LEAF, carved in relief with the Crucifixion, flanked to one side by the Virgin supported by two figures, to the other St. John and two further figures, the whole beneath four cricketed arches, 15th century, bottom right-hand corner damaged.
A RHENISH IVORY PLAQUE from a Diptych, carved with the Crucifixion, flanked by the three Maries, St. John and the Jewish priests under an original crustal arcade, the whole to an octagonal shape for re-use at a later date, 14th century, the lower part imperfect.
A FRENCH GOTHIC IVORY PLAQUE, from a writing tablet, carved in low relief on the obverse with a representation of the Crucifixion, to the left of the Cross the figure of the swooning Virgin supported by two women, to the right the figure of St. John the Evangelist with the figures of two Jews behind, the whole between three pointed trifoliate arches with strap crocheted gables; the reverse deeply carved with recesses of varying shapes, I4th century.
AN IVORY PAX, with the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary and John the Apostle under the cross, framed by an arch over twisted columns, two armorial shields at the foot of the cross, hatched background, 15th century, on red velvet stand.
The armorial shield with the three birds represents the arms of the Ghent family of Halsberghe.
A VENETIAN MARBLE ROUNDEL centred by a bird of prey attacking a hare within a border composed of a running lozenge-shaped motif, I4th Century, traces of polychrome.
See W. F. Volbach, Mittelalterliche Bildwerke aus Italien und Byzanz, Bildwerke des Kaiser Friedrich-Museums, Berlin, for similar roundels.
A VENETIAN STONE ROUNDEL, carved and pierced in high relief with a stylised lion, rope-twist rim, 13in. cracked and re-paired.
A ROMANESQUE LIMESTONE FIGURE of St. Peter, bearded, holding a key in his right hand and a bound volume in his left, which is covered by the hem of his gown, standing on a low rectangular plinth, probably Spanish, mid-12th century.
Two FRANCONIAN ANGELS, each on bended knee and holding a candlestick, dressed in a long flowing tunic and embroidered stoles,) about 1430.
AN OAK FIGURE OF THE VIRGIN CROWNED, now fragmentary and with slight trace of paint, (50cm.) circa 1300, some reserving.
AN AUSTRIAN OR BOHEMIAN POLYCHROME WOOD GROUP OF THE VIRGIN AND CHILD, she wears a tall gilded crown and stands with her body inclined in a slight S-curve to the right, the Child held in a relaxed pose in her arms, the drapery of her cloak forming V-folds to her knees, late 14th century.
Compare the drapery and folds of a figure of St. Nicholas, dating from 1380-90 from the Narodny Gallery, Prague, exhibited in Die Parler.
AN EAST FRENCH WALNUT GROUP of the Virgin and Child, in 14th century style, the Virgin crowned and with the Child holding an orb in her left arm, traces of colour.
A FRENCH WALNUT GROUP OF THE PIETA, the seated figure of the Virgin with hands clasped in prayer, the dead Christ resting on her lap, mid-15th century, wormed, traces of original polychrome.
AN ENGLISH MEDIEVAL LIMESTONE HEAD, possibly of a main saint, with flowing Shoulder length hair and short beard, circa 1500, some damage.
A VENETIAN STONE ROUNDEL, carved and pierced in high relief with a stylised lion, rope-twist rim, 13in. diameter (33cm.) century, cracked and re-paired.
A ROMANESQUE LIMESTONE FIGURE of St. Peter, bearded, holding a key in his right hand and a bound volume in his left, which is covered by the hem of his gown, standing on a low rectangular plinth, (69.2cm.) probably Spanish, mid-12th century.
AN EARLY CENTRAL ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD GROUP OF THE ANNUNCIATION, the angel on his knees with right arm raised, his hair in stylised curls, wings lacking, the Virgin to his right facing the spectator wearing a blue cloak over a red dress, the drapery of both figures carved in formal V-shaped folds, much original colour, first quarter 15th Century.
The close relation to Umbrian Gothic sculpture is quite apparent in a sense of reality and physical presence as well as in the refined and rather feminine facial features with the wide spread eyes and slightly parted lips, features which we find repeatedly in Siamese paintings. The draperies testify an assuredness of carving characteristic for Italian wood sculpture, but the sharpness of the folds, the formal stylisation of the hair and the eccentric position of the figures themselves cannot be compared with the free and loose figurative representations observed on works by Jacopo della Quercia pr Francesco di Valdambrino. The rather conservative composition indicates either a North Italian or, more likely, an Abruzzese origin. The Abruzzi area is crossed by the then very important Roman highways ‘Via Flaminia’ and ‘Via Flaminia vetus’ and held close links to North Italy and Germany since Friedrich II Hohenstauffen. The museum in the Castello of L’Aquila exhibits a number of comparable Gothic wood sculptures of the area.
A NORTH ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD FIGURE of St. Mark the Evangelist, sitting in a marbleised chair, his left hand resting on an open book on top of a small cabinet, right hand stretched out in front of him, a winged lion at his feet, 14th Century, badly wormed, face recorded, some damages and repairs.
A BURGUNDIAN STONE FIGURE OF ST. NlCHOLAS,
the bishop saint stands with right hand raised in benediction, left hand holding his crosier, his cloak falling in soft folds, at his feet to his right a tub containing three children, late 15th century, head renewed, left foot and tub restored similar treatment of the drapery see Muses de Dijon .
A FINE NOTTINGHAM ALABASTER RELIEF of the Adoration of the Kings, the embattled top flanked by turrets forming a canopy under which the crowned Virgin reclines, holding the Christ Child, two of the Kings standing crowned in the background, St. Joseph at one side leaning on his staff, the third King kneeling in the foreground offering his gift, holding his crown on his knee, the ox and ass on the left, extensive traces of original polychrome, early 15th century.
This alabaster falls into that described as Class II (1380-1420) by Professor E. S. Prior, Illustrated Catalogue of the Exhibition of English Medieval Alabaster Work, 1913. See also T. Hodgkin son, Burlington, December, 1946, for a similar table.
A NOTTINGHAM ALABASTER PANEL of the Entombment, the body of Christ laid out on the tomb, Nicodemus supports His head, Mary at the centre, Joseph of Arimathea to the foreground, an angel washes His blood from His right hand with his hair, early 15th century, right hand corner broken, some surface damage.
A FRAGMENTARY NOTTINGHAM ALABASTER RELIEF of the Descent from the Cross, the figure of a man descending the ladder on the left, on the right Joseph staunching Christ’s wounds whilst supporting His body, in the background the Virgin, at the bottom left the head of Nicodemus, 13in. high (33cm.) 15th century, traces of polychrome.
See English Medieval Alabaster Carvings, City of York Art Gallery, 1954, for a similar composition.
A TYROLEAN WING OF AN ALTARPIECE, the front with St. Florien carved in relief, standing below an ogee of swirling scrolls and foliage, dressed in a cloak draped in intricate folds over armour, a biretta on his head, a spear in his left hand and a bucket in his right (both now missing), a burning castle at his feet, traces of the original polychrome and gilding, background over painted including frame, about 1500, several minor damages; the back painted with the Angel from the Annunciation, right hand raised in benediction, left hand holding a lily, a scroll with the inscription ‘MARIA OR . . . UNE…’ entwining his left arm, over painted and with two later hinges
V The confluence of Tyrolean and Upper Swabia traditions and styles can be observed in many late Gothic wood sculptures in the region of Merano and Vinschgau; for other examples see Theodor Muller, Gotische Skulpturen in Tirol.
A BURGUNDIAN WOOD FIGURE of St. Fiacre of Brail, the bearded saint with closed eyes, dressed in long robe and cowl, a spade in his left hand and a book in his right, 15th century.
A SOUTH GERMAN LIMEWOOD RELIEF of a bishop saint, half length, holding a book in his right hand and a staff in his left, slight traces of gilding and paint, circa 1500.
A NORTH ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD FIGURE of St. Jerome, in monk’s robes, (124cm.) 15th century.
A PAIR OF NORTH ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD FIGURES of SS. Cosmos and Damian, the two doctors dressed in birettas and scholar’s tunics, one holding a casket and wearing a fur lined cloak, his companion with a vase in his right hand, traces of original paint, first half of 16th century, on bases.
A FINE BAVARIAN OAK FIGURE of St. James the Great, attributed to Erasmus Grasser, the bearded Saint shown full length, head turned slightly to sinister, wearing a hat with wide turned-up rim and a cloak over an ankle-long tunic, his left hand resting on the hilt of a sword, about 1500.
This figure probably originates from the choir-stalls of the Cathedral at Munich, carved under the direction of Erasmus Grasser around 1502 (registered as master in Munich in 1477). Some of the figures are still in situ, others have been dispersed as a consequence of various restorations over the course of time. See Philipp Maria Halm, Erasmus Grasser, Augsburg 1927, Nr. 75-97 for the choir stall in its condition after the restorations of 1860-68 and the great war, for similar figures of Saints, Prophets and Apostles. AU these figures have the same characteristically emphatic posture, smooth and elongated facial features and curvilinear edges of the drapery. The probably best known works in this characteristic manner are the ten remaining figures of Morris dancers, now in the Stadtmuseum, Munich.
A NETHERLANDISH OAK GROUP of St. Joseph with the infant Christ standing at his side holding an orb in His right hand, ample cloak, part of the hem tucked under his belt together with carpenter’s brace and bit, supported on hexagonal bracket carved with two carpenters at work sawing a plank, circa 1460-70, left arm missing.
V See Jaap Leeuwenberg, Beeldhouwkunst in net Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 1973, for an oak figure of St. Roch with similarly treated folds of cloak and right sleeve. The soft flowing folds of the garments, the grave facial features and the balanced composition of the group described above show the influence of Adriaen van Wesel (Utrecht, circa 1420-1500). Characteristics of his work are sparing use of detail in favour of the effects of light and shade, the gentleness of his portrayal of old people and peasant types and his power to characterise tellingly without the slightest tendency to caricature or to the presentation of violent emotions.
AN ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD CRUCIFIX FIGURE, the dead Christ’s head leaning on the right Shoulder, the peritoneum knotted at the left side, 55m. high (89cm.) 16th Century, the cross with turned terminals.
A PAIR OF FRENCH POLYCHROME OAK PANELS carved in relief with a monk looking down to his left, and a nun looking to her right, her veil billowing around her, 16th Century, right hand of monk lacking, both panels damaged.
AN ITALIAN POLYCHROME WOOD FIGURE OF ST. JAMES OF COMPOSTELLA, dressed in pilgrim’s habit and wearing a hat with shell motif, holding a staff and a book.
A WOOD CRUCIFIX FIGURE, head inclined to Dexter with closed eyes, crown of thorns and crosswise bound peritoneum, about 1460, Swabia or Tyrolean.
A FLEMISH OAK RELIEF of the Nativity, the Virgin and St. Joseph kneeling with an angel between them, the ox and ass behind, in the stable, slight traces of colour, early 16th Century, possibly Cleves School, the panel has been altered, the base probably out back and an extra piece of wood added, which may account for the loss of the Christ Child.
A FINE MAIN-FRANKISH POLYCHROME WOOD FIGURE OF A BISHOP, School of Hans Backhoffen, Standing with a staff in his right hand, dressed in a mitre and plain tunic under a cope draped in typically creased folds over his arms, original colour, about 1515.
See Theodor Muller, Die Bildwerke in Holz und Stein, Munich, 1959, Cat. 159 (Inv. 13/72) for a related lime wood figure of St. Ulrich attributed to Hans Backhoffen, (died in Mainz 1519). Muller notes the typical inter-relations in that period with the Lower Bavarian and Salzburg wood sculpture of for example Leinberger and Lackner. For further sculptures by, or attributed to, Hans Backhoffen, see the monuments of Johann von Liebenstein and Uriel von Gemmingen in the Cathedral at Mainz, a wood sculpture of St. Benedict in the Liebieghaus, Frankfurt, and a St. Nicholas in the Deutsches Museum, Berlin.
A SPANISH POLYCHROME AND GILTWOOD RELIEF carved with the seated figure of St. Jerome in his study, shown before a table reading a book in front of which rest a skull and a crucifix, 16th Century.
AN UPPER BAVARIAN TERRACOTTA FIGURE of the dead Christ crucified, the head with closed eyes and slightly parted Ups, leaning forward to the right, the peritoneum tightly wound round His thighs, Nuremberg or Freising, late I5th century, traces of later over painting, several repairs, parts of right foot and left hand missing, on later wooden cross.
See Theodor Muller, Catalogue of the Bavarian National Museum, XIII, 2, Munchen 1959, and Demmler, Catalogue of the Deutsches Museum, Berlin, ‘Grossplastik’, St. Peter, a Virgin and Child, all Upper Bavarian terracotta figures of related style and similar date.
A GERMAN ALABASTER GROUP OF THE PIETA, the Virgin wiping her eyes with her veil and holding Christ’s body over her lap circa 1480.
‘Die Marienlage aus Alabaster in Mergentheim’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, discusses mid-15th Century alabasters, in particular pieta groups, influenced by Netherlands artists. See also Theodor Muller, Sculpture in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain, 1400-1500, for the influence of the Netherlands on alabaster sculptures of the second half of the 15th Century, originating from the Middle Rhine across the Main to Thuringia and Magdeburg. The austere representation of the present pieta and the traditional diagonal position of the body of Christ recalls the style of German pietas of the early 1400s, whereas the expressive naturalism of the Virgin and the linear sharpness of the drapery on the lower half of the group indicate a later date and a strong Netherlands influence.
A PAIR OF NUREMBERG WOOD FIGURES, representing St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Peter standing with a key in his right hand and a book in his left, his bearded head slightly raised to sinister, a wide cloak draped in billowing folds over his Shoulders, St. Paul leaning on a long sword, holding its hilt with both hands, his head with long beard and wide hat sightline inclined to Dexter, a wide cloak turned up over his forearms, both early 16th Century.
See Michael Baxandall, The Lime wood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, London 1980, for works of similar character.
A LOWER RHENISH POLYCHROME AND GILTWOOD GROUP of the Sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham standing with turbaned head and billowing cloak, his tank tied at the waist, right hand raised with a dagger, his left resting on the head of Isaac kneeling, with hands clasped, at his feet, early 17th Century.
A MALINES POLYCHROME WALNUT GROUP of the Virgin and Child, the Virgin with a swathed head-dress over her long golden hair, holding the Child in her right arm and a book in her left, much original gilding, early 16th Century, the back of the figure with the three bar mark, some later paint, the Child’s head lacking, on later wooden base.
A FLEMISH OAK FIGURE OF CHRIST AS THE MAN OF SORROWS, his hands bound in front of him, seated on a pile of rocks, late 15th Century, traces of colour.
A FLEMISH OAK RELIEF OF THE PIETA , the Virgin bending down towards the limp figure of Christ and supporting his head with her right hand, circa 1500.
A GERMAN POLYCHROME WOOD RELIQUARY carved in relief with the three-quarter length figure of St. John the Baptist, naked but for a sheep’s skin draped about him, holding a lamb in his right hand, on plinth with hollowed cavity for relic, 17th Century.
A SMALL WOOD FIGURE of a Jester, head turned to sinister, with grinning grimace, in jesters costume with the fool’s cap slipped to the Shoulders, South German, circa 1600.
A SOUTH GERMAN POLYCHROME WOOD BUST of St. Catherine, elaborately carved curls falling down to her Shoulders, a teardrop shaped golden pearl on her forehead suspended from a tiara, original colour, high second half 16th Century.
AN UPPER SWABIAN POLYCHROME WOOD RELIEF BUST of St. Theodor von Sitten, in mitre and pontifical robes, a bell with a devil clinging to it in his right arm, most of the original colour, first half 16th Century.
Legend has it that St. Theodor had a bell, a present from the Pope, transported to Sitter by a devil exorcised from a man possessed.
A SPANISH POLYCHROME FIGURE of Christ crucified, head bent forward and eyes closed, the emaciated body with strongly marked ribcage, the peritoneum draped loosely over a double cord, early 17th Century.
AN INDO-PORTUGUESE WOOD FIGURE of the Madonna in Prayer, standing, the hands joined in front of her, dressed in a blue cape over a red tunic, her long hair framing the serene face and falling in wavy tresses over her Shoulders, 16th Century, minor damages and repairs.
A NORTH GERMAN LIMEWOOD FIGURE OF A BISHOP SAINT, right hand outstretched, much original colour, 16th Century.
A SPANISH POLYCHROME AND GILTWOOD RELIEF of the Virgin in Glory, the seated figure of the Virgin and Child enthroned flanked by worshipping on-lookers, a rocky landscape and hillside fortress behind.
A SET OF FOUR ENGLISH NEWEL-POST FIGURES, carved as lions seat, supporting shields with grotesque masks and scrolling finials, first quarter 17th century, ebonised bases.
A MALINES ALABASTER RELIEF of Orpheus playing a lyre surrounded by animals including a stag, horse, bull and two lions in a wooded setting, traces of original gilding, early 17th century, in gilt gesso frame decorated with masks and scrolls.
A MALINES ALABASTER RELIEF of The Flight into Egypt, the Virgin and Child seated on a donkey led by Joseph, a basket slung over his shoulder, heightened with gilding, circa 1600.
A MALINES ALABASTER RELIEF by Corneille Gheeraerts, depicting Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Queen kneeling before King Solomon presenting urns, with attendants, behind the king further attendants and mounted figures, in the background a mounted camel and a city, signed CG flanking an anchor, early 17th century.
Corneille Gheraerts is recorded as having worked from 1625, see Brussels Museum Exhibition Catalogue, Exposition de Sculptures malinoises d’Albatre, 1967.
A MALINES ALABASTER RELIEF with a bust in half profile of the Virgin Mary supported by a cartouche-shaped strap work bracket, against a black background with stylised gilt fleur-de-lees and star halo, late 16th century, diagonally set in gilt wood frame, some damage.
A MALINES ALABASTER RELIEF of America, represented by a female figure wearing an Indian head-dress, surrounded by tree roots, traces of gilding, early 17th century.
A FLEMISH ALABASTER RELIEF OF THE
RESURRECTED CHRIST two cherubim flanking his head and angels supporting the holy shroud at His side, mid-16th century.
This relief combines conventional Flemish elements (the left Aying cherub, the head of Christ) with Michaelangelesque characteristics, which indicate a strong Italian influence. At the beginning of the 16th century many Central and North Italian craftsmen left their war-ridden homelands more or less voluntarily to establish a new existence in a more peaceful and prosperous environment. One of the major Workshops in Liege was set up by Nicholas Palardin te Luik in 1518 and continued to turn out carvings in marble, alabaster and wood under the direction of his son of the same name (died 1580), his brother-in-law Martin Fiacre (died 1601) and his son Gillis Fiacre (died 1664). For a black marble relief of the Crucifixion by the Paladin-Fiacre Workshop see Leeuwenberg, Rijksmuseum Catalogue of Sculpture.
AN ITALIAN TERRACOTTA GROUP of the infant St. John the Baptist reclining on a grassy mound, draped with garlands of flowers, fondling a lamb lying at his side, a cross beside him, 16th century, perhaps Florentine, restored.
AN ITALIAN MARBLE BAS-RELIEF of the Annunciation, with the Almighty in the lunette above, the relief framed by pilasters, the frieze carved with winged angel’s heads, circa 1500, cracked, in painted plaster frame.
A PAIR OF NORTH ITALIAN WHITE GLAZED EARTHENWARE BUSTS of children, each with head turned to one side, chubby cheeks and short curly hair, 17th century, on oval gilt wood stands.
A MARBLE HEAD of a prophet looking to the right and wearing a turban, a hand emerging from the drapery which masks the truncationprobably Upper Rhine, early 16th century.
Although it is unusual to find a bust of this type in marble, the nearest comparison can be made with the wooden busts of the Upper Rhine and Ulm area by Nicolaus Gerhaert and Heinrich Yselin, which were intended either as mounts to choir-stalls or as reliquaries, some of which were included in the exhibition ‘Spatgotik am Oberrhein’ Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe;