Created in northern Austria along the Danube River, this sculpture is notable for the deep, lyrical carving of the drapery. The current appearance of much of the surface is due to a past restoration that removed layers of over-paint, exposing some areas of gesso and bole, the reddish soft clay used as a base for gold leaf. The delicately applied paint on the Virgin's face is original, and the blue lining of her mantle, painted in intense azurite, retains much of its original appearance. The Virgin's hands, which would have held the infant Jesus, were carved separately and have been lost. The sculpture displays the mastery of the wood carver's art associated with the great altarpieces of the late Middle Ages, and it can be seen in the context of the monumental Kefermarkt altarpiece in Upper Austria, which is dated about 1490–1497. The Virgin was probably carved for the central section of a winged altarpiece, where she would have been flanked by angels or saints. The adjacent wings were likely painted or decorated with carvings in low relief representing scenes of the Life of the Virgin or the Infancy of Jesus.
[ Wolfgang Hofstätter, Vienna, and descendants (from before 1967)] ; [ Blumka Gallery, New York (sold 2010)]
Kühnel, Harry. Ausstellung Gotik in Österreich: Veranstaltet von der Stadt Krems an der Donau, 19. Mai bis 15. Oktober 1967, Minoritenkirche Krems-Stein, Niederösterreich. Krems an der Donau: Stadt Krems an der Donau, Kulturverwaltung, 1967. no. 190, p. 221, fig. 43.
Beck, Herbert. "Bemerkung zum Meister von Kefermarkt." Städel-Jahrbuch, n.s., 4 (1973). pp. 81-102, fig. 13.
Beck, Herbert. "Der Kefermarkter Altar: Retrospektives Phänomen einer zweiten 'internationalen" Gotik?." In Der Meisters des Kefermarkter Altars: Die Ergebnisse des Linzer Symposions, edited by Lothar Schultes. Linz: Oberösterreichische Landesmuseen, 1993. p. 130, fig. 203.
Miller, Albrecht. "Der Meister des Schongauer-Altärchens in Ulm und Passau." Zeitschrift des Deutschen Vereins für Kunstwissenschaft 63 (2009). p. 167.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2011-2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 70, no. 2 (Fall 2012). pp. 22-23.
Artist: Attributed to Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden (North Netherlandish, active Strasbourg, ca. 1462–died 1473 Vienna)Date: ca. 1470Medium: Boxwood, tinted lips and eyesAccession: 1996.14On view in:Gallery 13