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Saint Roch and the Angel

Master of the Biberach Holy Kinship (German, active 16th century)

Date:
ca. 1520
Geography:
Made in Swabia, Germany
Culture:
German
Medium:
Limewood with traces of paint
Dimensions:
Overall: 28 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 7 3/8 in. (72.4 x 26 x 18.7 cm) at base: 9 x 5 3/4 in. (22.9 x 14.6 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1960
Accession Number:
60.126
  • Description

    This sensitively carved group represents Saint Roch lifting his robe while a small angel, its wings now missing, applies ointment to the boil on the saint's leg. The drawn and weary face of Saint Roch elicits empathetic anguish in the fleshy countenance of the angel. Considerable attention is paid to the anatomy of forms, notably in the rendering of the underlying bone structure of the face and hands and the careful articulation of the veins. Both figures are slightly rotated, emphasized by the long diagonal fold across the torso of Saint Roch, animating the group with implied motion. The voluminous and deeply cut drapery folds bring additional weight and presence to this sculpture. The anonymous sculptor is named after his principle work, an altarpiece with the Holy Family in the parish church of Biberach an der Riss in Upper Swabia. This sculpture and one of Saint Sebastian in the Bode Museum, Berlin, which retains its original paint, were almost certainly both from the central shrine of the same altarpiece-both were invoked to protect against the plague-possibly flanking an image of the Virgin and Child.

  • Provenance

    [ John J. Klejman , New York (until 1960)]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
471847

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