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Lot 37 - Pietà". Magnificent carved, gilded and polychromed wooden relief. Made by a master [...]

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Pietà". Magnificent carved, gilded and polychromed wooden relief. Made by a master from the area of Ulm, Swabia, Southern Tyrol. Gothic. Circa 1470 - 1500.
This is an exceptional fragment from an altarpiece which has arrived at the present day in excellent condition, with its original 15th century polychrome and gilding.
Regarding the area where the relief came from, we were at first inclined to think that it must be from the area known as Swabia in the south of Germany, around Lake Constance and Southern Tyrol, as the relief is very close to the work of Hans Klocker (before 1474 - after 1500). This relief can also be compared with the oak wood reliefs done by the Master Arnt of Kalkar, 1460-1492 who was of Dutch origin and active in Kalkar and Zwolle, it is especially reminiscent of the “Lamentation at the dead Christ with a donor” which is from 1480 and is currently to be found at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Finally, we decided that this relief is closer to those by Arnt of Kalkar, which situates our relief in the area in the North of Germany / Netherlands. Arnt of Kalkar was one of the most important and original sculptors from the lower Rhine. He developed a personal style for the local market. The Altar of Saint George at the church of Saint Nicolas in Kalkar is one of the more than 20 works of art known to be by him.
Whichever of the hypotheses we have come up with is true, there is no doubt that this is a fragment of a magnificent altarpiece. The treatment of the clothing, which forms a mass of uneven folds, is marvellous, as are the twisted postures and the movement and realism of the all the figures have. The scene portrayed is life-like and very moving, and only a great master would have been able to achieve this.
In the centre of the scene, Mary, with her face hidden behind a veil, holds Jesus´ body in her lap. On her left, Mary Magdalene, wearing precious courtly robes and an elaborate headscarf which attaches at the back of her long hair, puts her hand in the perfume jar, her attribute, while her right knee rests on the ground. On the other side of the scene, Saint John, looking very emotional, leans his head towards his master, holding his head in his hand. Jesus´ and Mary´s left arms are missing.
36 x 47 x 7 cm.

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