CIRCLE OF THE MASTER OF RABENDEN (ACTIVE CIRCA 1500-1530)
GERMAN, BAVARIA, CIRCA 1510-1515
VIRGIN AND CHILD
gilt and polychromed limewood
Overall the condition of the wood is good, with some wear and dirt to the surface consistent with age. The virgin’s proper right hand is carved separately and may be a replacement. The bottom section, including the crescent moon, as well as sections on both sides towards the back, are a later replacement; the joints are well-concealed. This restoration probably occurred due to past worming, of which there is some evidence, particularly to the Virgin’s drapery. The polychromy in the faces is in very good condition with minor wear, including craquelure; it is likely that it is partially refreshed. There is more wear to the polychromy elsewhere, with areas of loss throughout the Virgin’s dress and mantle, as well as to the Child’s upper forehead, proper right arm, grapes and legs, and the Virgin’s proper right hand. There is minor stable splitting to the wood consistent with the material. There is a hole to the top of the Virgin’s head. There are a few very minor losses, notably to the Virgin’s
and the Child’s hair.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This beautiful group is distinguished by the extraordinary charm and animation exhibited by the Christ Child. Proffering a bunch of grapes, the Child greets the viewer with an infantile and seemingly spontaneous smile. Stylistically, the group is remarkably close to the work of the Master of Rabenden, who led a successful workshop in Bavaria, based in and around Munich. The Virgin's hair and facial type, with a small mouth and high forehead, compare to the Virgin of Mercy by the master in Fischbachau (Niehoff, op. cit., fig. 16). Her contrapposto and drapery scheme, with a generous swathe running vertically across the legs, and crinkled folds above the protruding knee, are mirrored by the Virgin of the Unterölkofen Altar in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (inv. no. R 8835). A further comparison not only for the facial type of the Virgin, but also for the diminutive features of the Child, is found in an Anna Selbdritt group attributed to the master sold at Neumeister, Munich, on 19 May 2010 (lot 1). The present group's quality of carving in all details, and its striking naturalistic observation, indicate an origin in the immediate circle of the master, if not his own workshop.
T. Müller, Die Bildwerke in Holz, Ton und Stein von der Mitte des XV. bis gegen Mitte des XVI. Jahrhunderts, cat. Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 1959, p. 234; F. Niehoff (ed.), Um Leinberger: Schüler und Zeitgenossen, exh. cat. Spitalkirche Heiliggeist, Landshut, 2006, pp. 88-101