Her hands raised heavenward in a gesture of deepest distress, the Virgin Mary has sunk to the ground. Her body is grouped with those of the disciples offering her support and the mourning woman behind her in such a way as to imitate the form of Christ’s cross, which is being erected in the background. Philipp Uffenbach – the young Adam Elsheimer’s Frankfurt teacher – thus staged the Virgin suffering vicariously for her son. The pain endured by the Blessed Mother beneath the cross is intended to provide the faithful with access to the experience of Christ’s Passion.
For almost 700 years, from 1245 until 1923, the Holzhausens were one of Frankfurt's most important patrician families and prominent members of the Imperial City's town council. More than thirty members of the family served as mayor on some seventy occasions. Until about 1500 the family were merchants on a large scale, but then concentrated on administering their country property and feudal lands. The death of Adolph Freiherr von Holzhausen (1866-1923) marked the end of the older branch of the family on the male side. He bequeathed to the Städel the ancestral portrait gallery of Frankfurt's Holzhausen family, which dated back to the time of the Renaissance. The portrait collection exhibits the particular charm of an ancestral gallery that has been maintained over many generations.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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