This charming figure of Saint Barbara shows characteristics that allow it to be placed within the Tyrolean tradition of the late 15th and early 16th century. The flowing drapery, being pulled in front of the body and seemingly weightless, is a known Tyrolean motif. It can be seen in a figure of a female saint sold in the Hierzenberger Collection in these rooms on 3 April 1984, lot 260, which also shows very similar posture and type of dress. A further comparable figure, of Saint Margaret, is in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg (Müller op. cit.
fig. 182), and shows similarities in the spiraled strands of hair, and wonderfully soft facial features. The present figure, as the Hierzenberger Saint, appear to have been influenced by the tradition of Hans Klocker, especially in the complicated folds of crinkled drapery, and the facial features of the slightly slanted eyes and rosebud mouth.
Saint Barbara, one of the Eastern saints, lived, according to tradition, in Nicodemia in present-day Turkey in the third century. Her father, refusing to let her live her life as a Christian, locked her in a tower: the tower is therefore one of Saint Barbara's most common attributes. The chalice, which she holds in the present lot, became one of her attributes in the later Middle Ages, when her cult gained widespread popularity.
Spätgotik in Salzburg: Skulptur und Kunstgewerbe, 1400-1530, exh. cat. Salzburger Museum Carolino Augusteum, Salzburg, 1976; R. Didier and H. Krohm, Les Sculptures Medievales Allemandes dans les Collections Belges, exh. cat. Société Générale du Banque, Brussels, 1977, no. 19; T. Müller, Gotische Skulptur in Tirol, Vienna, 1976