Saint Barbara, Nuremberg dialect, 15th century
Anonymous
Saint Barbara
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Nuremberg dialect, 15th century

Saint Barbara, ca. 1410 – 1420


Blatt
184 x 90 mm
Inventory Number
623
Object Number
623 Z
Status
Can be presented in the study hall of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)

Texts

About the Work

This small ink drawing of St Barbara was most likely produced in Nuremberg during the second decade of the fifteenth century, making it one of the earliest examples of drawing on paper. The S-shaped curve of the delicate figure, the voluminous thin folds and opulently flowing robe, which ends in a pedestal-like base, shows it to be a work of International Gothic, the formulaically stylised and delightful style known in German as 'schöner Stil' ('beautiful style') or 'weicher Stil' ('soft style') and which was widely practised throughout Europe around 1400. St Barbara is one of the 'Fourteen Auxiliary Helpers' - saints who could be invoked in all emergencies - and was thus particularly revered. The illustrator, who had a noticeable preference for artistically undulating, calligraphic lines, has outlined the figure of the saint with a firm contour and developed the folds of the robe three-dimensionally with parallel pen strokes. The figure nonetheless remains mostly two-dimensional; her body appears to be neither a volume nor a well-balanced organism; and she really ought to be carrying the weighty tower, the attribute that identifies her as St Barbara and which looks exchangeable, on her other hip, which she has thrust forward. Inconsistencies like the martyr's palm "floating" behind her left hand and the almost silhouette-like isolation of the figure indicate that this fluently drawn work was created as a copy - possibly from a painting. One of the most important early functions of drawings was to "transport" forms and preserve them in the stock of reference pictures stored in a late-medieval artist's workshop.

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Saint Barbara
Draughtsman
  • Nuremberg dialect, 15th century
Production Place
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Material
Technique
Geographic Reference
Production Reason
Captions Added Later
Verso Stempel des Städelschen Kunstinstituts, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2356), mit zugehöriger Inventarnummer; bezeichnet unten mittig (mit Bleistift): Art der Kölner Schule / Ende des 14" Jahrh
Watermark
  • Nicht geprüft

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions
Associated Source
  • Die Legenda aurea des Jacobus de Voragine, übersetzt von Richard Benz, Heidelberg 1984

Iconclass

Primary
  • 11HH(BARBARA) the virgin martyr Barbara; possible attributes: book, cannon(ball), crown, cross, chalice with wafer, Dioscuros (her father), peacock feather, sword, torches, mason's tools, tower

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Last import

20.09.2019