Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Saint Barbara

ca. 1490
Made in probably Strasbourg, Alsace, present-day France
Limewood with paint
50 1/4 × 17 × 13 1/4 in., 63 lb. (127.6 × 43.2 × 33.7 cm, 28576.613g)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1955
Accession Number:
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
: / 
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Probably from the high altar of the St. Mauritiuskirche.; Beinhaus, Kippenheim (until 1872) ; Franz Anton Herzog, Kippenheim (1874-1902/3) ; Fidel Henselmann, Offenburg (1902/3-?) ; [ Dealer, Switzerland (?) (by 1931)] ; [ Henri Heilbronner, Lucerne (sold 1955)]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighty-Sixth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1955-1956." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 15, no. 2 (October 1956). p. 44.

Frinta, Mojmír. "The Use of Wax for Appliqué Relief Brocade on Wooden Statuary." Studies in Conservation 8, no. 4 (1963). p. 146, fig. 10.

Rorimer, James J. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Medieval Art in Fort Tryon Park. 3rd revised ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963. p. 124, fig. 59.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 27.

Zimmermann, Eva. "Zur Rekonstruktion des ehemaligen Hochaltares der Kippenheimer St. Mauritiuskirche." In Festschrift für Peter Bloch zum 11. Juli 1990, edited by Dr. Hartmut Krohm, and Christian Theuerkauff. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1990. pp. 121-33, fig. 3, 4, 5.

McConnell, Sophie, and Alvin Grossman. Metropolitan Jewelry. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991. p. 19.

Zimmermann, Eva. "Der Meister von Kefermarkt und die oberrheinische Skulptur des späten 15. Jahrhunderts." In Der Meisters des Kefermarkter Altars: Die Ergebnisse des Linzer Symposions. Linz: Oberösterreichische Landesmuseen, 1993. p. 111.

Wixom, William D. "Riemenschneider in America." In Tilman Riemenschneider: Master Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages, edited by Julien Chapuis. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1999. p. 155.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. no. 96, pp. 135, 198.

Kahsnitz, Rainer. Carved Splendor: Late Gothic Altarpieces in Southern Germany, Austria and South Tirol. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006. p. 26, fig. 29.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 141.

Related Objects

Saint Anthony Abbot

Artist: Attributed to Nikolaus von Hagenau (German, ca. 1445–died before 1538) Date: ca. 1500 Medium: Walnut Accession: 1988.159 On view in:Gallery 20


Date: ca. 1250 Medium: Sandstone with original paint and gilding Accession: 47.101.11 On view in:Gallery 8

Head of an Apostle

Date: ca. 1280–1300 Medium: Sandstone Accession: 2004.453 On view in:Gallery 8

Seated Bishop

Artist: Tilman Riemenschneider (German, 1460–1531) Date: ca. 1495 Medium: Limewood and gray-black stain Accession: 1970.137.1 On view in:Gallery 20

Saints Christopher, Eustace, and Erasmus (Three Helper Saints)

Artist: Tilman Riemenschneider (German, 1460–1531) Date: ca. 1500–1505 Medium: Limewood Accession: 61.86 On view in:Gallery 20