St. John the Baptist

Object Details

Title:

St. John the Baptist

Artist/Maker(s):

Master of the Harburger Altar (German, active about 1500 - 1515)

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1515

Medium:

Partially polychromed limewood

Dimensions:

152.1 x 49 x 30 cm (59 7/8 x 19 5/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

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Saint John the Baptist cradles the Holy Lamb, a symbol of the sacrificial Christ. The sculpture illustrates the saint's exclamation, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Glimpsed beneath his billowing mantle is a tattered shift of camel's skin, as described in the Bible. The camel's bearded head rests between the saint's feet. Originally the sculpture was one of two figures flanking a central figure of Christ or the Virgin and Child within a winged altarpiece. It has lost most of its original paint.

Provenance
- 1933

Jakob Oppenheimer (Altkunst, Antiquitäten, Berlin, Germany), looted by the Nazis, 1933.

and Rosa Oppenheimer

1933 - 1937

In the possession of the Nazis [sold, Auktionshaus Dr. Walther Achenbach, Berlin, September 30, 1937, lot 823, plate 20.]

after 1937

Gebrüder Heinemann (Wiesbaden, Germany)

Dr. B. Griebert (Constance, Germany)

1955

Unknown, on loan to the Kunsthaus, Zurich

- 1985

Private Collection (Switzerland) [sold, Skulpturen, Auktionshaus Galerie Koller, Zurich, November 22, 1985, lot 1405, to Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart.]

1986 - 2011

Landesmuseum Württemberg (Stuttgart, Germany), restituted to the heirs of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer.

2011

Heirs of Jakob Oppenheimer

and Rosa Oppenheimer [sold, European Sculpture and Works of Art, Medieval to Modern, Sotheby's, London, December 6, 2011, lot 23, to The J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Bibliography

Auktionshaus Dr. Walther Achenbach, Berlin. Aus den Restbeständen der Altkunst G.m.b.H., i. Liqu. September 20-22, 1937, p. 57, lot. 823, fig. 20.

Galerie Koller, Zurich. Möbel, Bronzen, Skulpturen, Porzellane, Fayencen, Silber, Dosen, frühes Kunstgewerbe, Uhren, Jugendstil, Glas, Teppiche, Ikonen, Varia, Schmuck. November 21-28, 1985, p. 14, lot 1405, fig. 4.

Beye, Peter, et al. "Württembergisches Landesmuseum." Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 24 (1987), pp. 198-99, fig. 10.

Miller, Albrecht. "Der Bildhauer des Harburger Altars: Zu einer Erwerbung für due Cadolzburg." In Bayerische Schlösser: Bewahren und Erforschen (Munich: Bayerische Verwaltung der Staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen, 1996), pp. 10-11, fig. 4.

Lichte, Claudia, and Heribert Meurer. Die mittelalterlichen Skulpturen. 2 Stein- und Holzskulpturen 1400 - 1530. Ulm und südliches Schwaben. 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Landesmuseum Württemberg, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 269-270.

Lichte, Claudia, and Heribert Meurer. Die mittelalterlichen Skulpturen. 2 Stein- und Holzskulpturen 1400 - 1530. Ulm und südliches Schwaben. 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Landesmuseum Württemberg, 2007), vol. 2, pp. 188-189, ill.

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