Saint Barbara


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 20

This well-preserved figure of Saint Barbara came from the central shrine of the high altarpiece of the church of Saint Mauritius on the east side of the Rhine River, south of Strasbourg. The central shrine was dismantled prior to the early seventeenth century, and the sculptures were consigned to the charnel house in Kippenheim. The now-dispersed figures and the painted wings have survived, allowing for the reconstruction of the altarpiece. Dedicated to the Virgin, the central and larger group of the Virgin and Child occupied a niche of extended height and was flanked by Saints Mauritius and Catherine on the left and Saints Barbara and Gregory the Great on the right. The outer wings represented the Annunciation and the Visitation, and the inner wings showed the Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds.

This sculpture retains much of its original paint and appliqué decoration; the red dress is enhanced with molded and gilt-wax brocade patterning, and the fine decoration on the mantle was achieved by etching through a transparent indigo layer over silver.

#34. Saint Barbara

Saint Barbara, Limewood with paint, German

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.