This almost square plaquette shows the half-length portrait of Katharina Volckamer (died 1540) in a circular garland with four shields bearing the coats of arms of four Nuremberg families: Tetzel (upper left), Rieter (upper right), Wolf (lower left), and Volckamer (lower right). In 1521 Volckamer married Anton Tetzel (1487 – 1548), member of a prominent Nuremberg patrician family that had made its fortune in the mining industry. The plaquette originally was one of a pair, the counterpart representing Katharina’s husband. It can safely be dated between 1521, the year of the couple’s wedding, and 1540, the year of Katharina’s death. The coats of arms represent those of Anton and Katharina, and Anton’s former wives, Anna Rieter (died 1514) and Cordula Wolf (died 1521). The most likely dates for the commission of the plaquettes are either 1524, when Anton was raised to the nobility, or 1534, the year in which he was elected as member (Alter Genannter) of the city council, the so-called Kleiner Rat. The maker of the plaquettes is not known, but was probably located in Nuremberg. This lead piece is a fine, possibly sixteenth-century aftercast of a bronze original. A very delicate pair in bronze is in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid.(1)
Catalogue entry from: Frits Scholten. The Robert Lehman Collection. European Sculpture and Metalwork, Vol. XII. Frits Scholten, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2011, p. 179.
NOTE: 1. Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid, 359, 360 (see Dürer, Cranach, Holbein, die Entdeckung des Menschen: Das deutsche Porträt um 1500. Exhibition, Kunsthistorisches Museum, 31 May -- 4 September 2011; Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, 16 September 2011 -- 15 January 2012, no. 130. Catalogue. Munich and Vienna, 2011).
Henry Oppenheimer, London; Oppenheimer sale, Christie's, London, 28 July 1936, no. 297, including two other plaquettes (this plaquette as "fine and rare"; for pounds 40 to [John Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt from the Oppenheimer sale.
Date: ca. 1425–50Medium: Bronze; Ternary copper alloy with a very high content of zinc (approx. 74%
copper, approx. 22% zinc, approx. 2% lead) with natural patina, hollow cast.Accession: 1975.1.1413On view in:Gallery 953