St. John the Baptist

Object Details


St. John the Baptist


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




Germany (Place created)


about 1515


Partially polychromed limewood


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.

- 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)


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.


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.]

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