Monogrammed "HD" for Hans Daucher (German, Augsburg, ca. 14851538)
Honestone relief, touches of gilding; 10 7/8 x 18 3/8 in. (27.6 x 46.7 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.745)
The relief's imagery reflects the political and religious conflicts in Germany during the first years of the Reformation. In a triumphant procession, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 151956), seen on horseback at the left, is followed by prominent members of his entourage: Count Palantine Friedrich II, Duke George of Saxony, Kunz von der Rosen, and, to the right of the triumphal arch tower, Willibald Pirkheimer (14701530), a friend of Albrecht Dürer and a celebrated Nuremberg humanist who translated Greek classics and published books on science and politics. Franz von Sickingen (14811523), the rebellious leader of a league for spreading Reformation and overthrowing Catholic princes and ecclesiastical rulers, is one of the men struggling in the devouring floods beneath the bridge. The relief formed part of the Kunstkammer of Emperor Rudolf II (r. 15761612) in Prague and is described in the inventories of the imperial collection of 160711 (Celestial Globe, 17.190.636; Female Nude, 17.190.467; Apollo, 41.190.534). Hans Daucher was a highly respected sculptor of such intricate honestone carvings at the dawn of the Renaissance north of the alpine mountains.