Lot 147
  • 147

HANS LEINBERGER (ALTBAYERN C.1475/1480 – AFTER 1531) AND WORKSHOPSOUTH GERMAN, BAVARIA, CIRCA 1516-1518 | the Presentation at the Temple

40,000 - 60,000 USD
137,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • the Presentation at the Temple
  • polychrome limewood


Collection of Konsul Rudolf Grolman, Düsseldorf
Galerie Pfefferle, Munich


Bergenz, Kunsthaus, Meisterwerke de Plastik aus Privatsammlungen im Bodenseegebiet, 1967


Meisterwerke der Plastik aus Privatsammlungen im Bodenseegebiet, Bregenz, exhibition catalogue, 1967, p. 25;
Bayern-Kunst und Kultur zu den XX, exhibition catalogue, Olympischen Sommerspielen, Munich, 1972, p. 356;
Volker Liedke, Hans Leinberger, Marginalien zu Künstlerischen und genealogischen Herkunft des grossen Landshuter Bildschnitzers, Munich, 1976, p. 51;
Alfred Schädler, Zur Künstlerischen Entwicklung Hans Leinbergers, München Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst,  3rd series, vol.  XXVIII,  Munich 1977, p. 76;
Hans Thoma (ed.), Hans Leinberger : seine Stadt, seine Zeit, sein Werk, Regensburg, 1979, no. 21, p. 160;
Franz Niehoff (ed.), Um Leinberger, Schüler und Zeitgenossen, Museen der Stadt, Landshut, 2007, p. 56, fig. 14 

Catalogue Note

The present relief is one of only three extant so-called rosary medallions from Hans Leinberger's celebrated rosary ensemble made for the Church of Saint Martin, Landshut (1516/18). The majestic ensemble was not a standard representation of figures on an altar but rather a translation of a prayer (the rosary) into sculptural form.  The central group of the Madonna and Child, known as the Virgin of the Rosary, is embellished with radiating giltwood rays representing light and was originally surrounded by a series of polychrome wood rosary medallions incorporating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin. Each medallion was integrally carved with beaded edges symbolizing a string of rosary beads and the repetitive recitation of prayers made while grasping them. Leinberger's medallions were set into a frame in the shape of a large rosary, as indicated by the carved flower petals on the reverse of each relief. The other remaining reliefs depicting the Annunciation (Niehoff (ed.), op.cit., no. 19) (Fig. 1) and the Nativity (Niehoff (ed.), op.cit., no. 20) are preserved in the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen and in the Liebieghaus, Frankfurt, respectively.

The cult of the Rosary was particularly associated with the Dominicans and greatly influenced the art of the Middle Ages. The conspicuous rise of the Rosary at the end of the 15th century was due to the ending of a dispute between Ruprecht of the Palatinate, archbishop of Cologne and the city of Cologne. During this time of turmoil, Jakob Sprenger, Prior to the Dominican monastery in Cologne, promoted the Rosary as succor. When peace was finally restored to the region, he attributed the happy conclusion of hostilities to the intervention of the Virgin. The fervor with which the Rosary was adopted and disseminated was in part due to artists like Dürer and his famous painting of the Feast of the Rosary made in 1506.

Although he became one of the foremost Gothic sculptors in Lower Bavaria, there is little known about Leinberger's birthplace and artistic origins and few documents exist concerning his life in Landshut where he settled around 1510. He was known to have worked for both the court of Ludwig X and the city. His sculpture is widely recognized for its masterful handling of the material and his imaginative  presentation of drapery which often appears to have a life of its own. Leinberger's best known work was the high altar in St. Kastulus Monastery in Moosburg on the river Isar, the largest preserved altar in Altbayern. Several of his works are now in the Bayerischesnational Museum, Munich.