Posted on 05/06/2014

Photo taken on July 20, 2011

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Virgin and Child by a Follower of the Master of the Dangolsheimer Madonna in the Princeton University Art Museum, July 2011

Virgin and Child by a Follower of the Master of the Dangolsheimer Madonna in the Princeton University Art Museum, July 2011
Follower of the Master of the Dangolsheimer Madonna, South German

Virgin and Child, late 15th–early 16th century

Wood with polychromy and gilding

86.5 x 55.4 x 31.7 cm (34 1/16 x 21 13/16 x 12 1/2 in.)

Museum purchase, gift of Carl Otto von Kienbusch, Class of 1906, for the Carl Otto von Kienbusch Jr., Memorial Collection


Handbook Entry
In the late fifteenth century, the prosperous south German trading centers on the Rhine and Danube were the locations of an artistic flowering in which a self-consciously "German" style spread rapidly through the area. The diffusion was aided by the invention of printmaking. One of the most active sectors of art production was carved polychrome wood sculpture, some of which was related to commissions of the type of looming altarpiece called Schnitzaltare, that combined painted shutters with a sculpted interior. Other commissions were for isolated groups.
Carved in soft limewood (lindenwood), this Virgin and Child group illustrates the dynamic spatial relationships between figures that sculptors were able to achieve. The anonymous master, from the upper Rhine area, worked in a style close to that of two major artists: the Master of the ­Dangolsheim Madonna, named for his masterpiece (Bode Museum, Berlin), and Nicholas Gerhart von Leyden, a highly influential figure with documented works in Strasbourg and Vienna. (Some scholars believe the Dangolsheim Master was the youthful Nicholas.) This group was probably placed high, given the downward gazes of the figures. Since the back is ­hollowed out, as is usual in such sculpture, it may have been on an altar or in a niche. The polychromy is partially restored, the crown a replacement of uncertain date. The group exemplifies the late Gothic love of exuberant curves and rich draperies.

Gallery Label
This work is representative of the development of a new, specifically German, taste in art in the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. One of the most active sectors of production was carved painted wooden sculptures. This work also illustrates the importance of the invention and spread of printmaking in disseminating the style in the regions of the Rhine and Danube rivers. For example, comparisons for the Virgin's highly ornamental curls of hair and the animated folds of the drapery can be found in prints.

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