Hans Schäufelein (German, ca. 1480–ca. 1540); Master of Engerda (?) (German, active ca. 1510–20)
Oil on wood
55 x 53 1/8 in. (139.7 x 134.9 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Karen and Mo Zukerman, Kowitz Family Foundation, Anonymous, and Hester Diamond Gifts, 2011 (2011.485ab)
Hans Schäufelein was one of Albrecht Dürer's three most gifted pupils and the one whose style most consistently showed the influence of the great German master throughout his career. Along with Hans Baldung Grien and Hans Suess von Kulmbach, whose paintings are displayed nearby, Schäufelein worked as a journeyman in Dürer's Nuremberg studio from 1503–7. Shortly thereafter, from about 1509–15, Schäufelein served in the workshop of Hans Holbein the Elder in Augsburg. There he produced this monumental, double-sided panel, one of four that once formed the wings of a folding triptych; the centerpiece most likely was a sculpture of the Virgin and Child with saints. The interior wings of the triptych—represented here by The Dormition of the Virgin—depicted scenes from the Life of the Virgin, and were painted by Schäufelein. The exterior wings showed scenes from the Passion of Christ, and as Christ Carrying the Cross (reverse side) reveals, were painted by the Master of Engerda with Schäufelein's intervention in the figure of Christ and the two tormentors to the immediate right. Although based on designs by Hans Holbein the Elder, Schäufelein added figures and varied poses in order to achieve a more dynamic, active expression. Dürer's influence is evident in such narrative enhancements and especially in the humanity conveyed by the striking variety and sensitivity of the heads of the Virgin and apostles.