Lot 12
  • 12

School of the upper Rhine, last quarter of the 15th century

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
80,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • School of the upper Rhine, last quarter of the 15th century
  • The Nativity
  • oil on pinewood panel
  • 34 by 24 cm.; 13 3/8  by 9 1/2  in.

Catalogue Note

In a letter dated 6th February 1968, Dr. Alfred Stange proposed an attribution for this Nativity to Caspar Isenmann, an artist active in Colmar in the middle of the 15th century.  Stange compares it with the altarpiece of the Passion painted by Isenmann in the 1460s for the Collegiate church of St Martin in Colmar, noting that a number of elements in the painting correspond with the present work.1 These include the curly grey-haired head of Nicodemus and his gilded vestment in the combined Lamentation and Entombmentpanel of the Colmar work which Stange saw as closely resembling the head of St Joseph and the robe of the Virgin in the present panel. Less convincingly, he suggested that the facial types of the Three Maries who recur twice in the same panel of the retable resemble that of the present Virgin. Stange proposed a slightly later dating for the present picture, suggesting that it may date from the 1470s.

The similarites with Isenmann's work help to locate the present work in the Upper Rhine region, probably Alsace, as does the pine wood support. Since the artist appears to have been influenced by Martin Schongauer, compare, for example, his engraving of the same subject, a slightly later dating than Stange suggested seems more likely.

1. Now located in the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar. G. Bergsträsser, Caspar Isenmann; ein Beitrag zur oberrheinischen Malerei des 15. Jahrhunderts, Kolmar 1941, p. 11