SOUTHERN GERMAN, PROBABLY FRANCONIA, EARLY 16TH CENTURY
THREE FIGURES FROM A CRUCIFIXION GROUP
limewood, with traces of polychromy
Overall the condition of the wood is good, with some dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are a few minor losses, including to the proper left ring finger of the fainting Virgin and some of Saint John's locks of hair. There are a few more minor chips and losses, including to the Virgin's veil. There is a reattachment to the tip of Saint John's nose and to the fainting Virgin's proper left middle finger, which appears to be a replacement. There is some evidence of past worming, including to the Virgin's chest, the other female figure's drapery around the legs, Saint John's proper right shoulder, and around the bottom and at the back. A section of the Virgin's mantle on her proper left side is carved separately and appears to be a later replacement. A section of the base on this side is also carved separately and probably later. There is some stable splitting to the wood, consistent with the material, notably at the base and the left hand female figure's legs. There are wood inserts running vertically from Saint John's proper right shoulder through his right hand and the Virgin's proper right arm, probably due to open splits. There are slight marks to the surface of the wood throughout, perhaps due to the removal of polychromy. There are some traces of red polychromy in the faces and red and green in some other areas. There is a wood insert behind the Virgin's
proper right hand, visible particularly at the back. There is some red paint residue and a metal loop at the back.
"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."
Private collection, Europe
The precise composition of this group, which depicts one of the three Marys and Saint John supporting the fainting Virgin, is repeated in at least three late-Gothic reliefs from diverse German locations: a Crucifixion in the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Münnerstadt from the circle of Veit Stoss (Bildindex Foto Marburg, no. B 15.279/10), the Crucifixion in the altarpiece of Kaysersberg (Alsace) made by Hans Bongart between 1518 and 1521 (Bildindex no. fmd489117), and an early 16th-century fragmentary relief in Marburg showing only the three figures (Bildindex, no. fmd483923). Though iconographically identical, each of the reliefs is stylistically distinct, indicating a common source, possibly from the circle of Rogier van der Weyden. The motif also appears painted on the outer wings of the High Altar at Blaubeuren, which was completed in 1494 (Bildindex, no. fm.1550835).