Thursday, 4 May 2017

Interesting German predella

Van Ham, from Germany, sells on 19 May 2017 a "Southern Germany, ca. 1500" Christ and the Apostles, estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 Euro.

It is a predella (the rectangular bit beneath a triptych or polyptych, a relatively rare element either because many have been lost or because many polyptychs didn't have one to start with). This specific type seems to be typical for the region and period, just like at other times you can find realistic depictions of the dead Christ there.

They all share some characteristics, with the same nearly Byzantine look, the apostles with their attributes (like Saint John the Apostle putting a miniature snake in a glass), the same position along a table (the depiction is closely related to that of the Last Supper, but is more a depiction of the main characters than the depiction of a story, a moment in time).

One example comes from Bernhard Strigel (1461-1528), main painter of the Swabian School (Swabia meaning South-West Germany). It was for sale at Christie's in 2016 but apparently remained unsold.

Another example (for which I only have this poor picture) is now housed in a museum in Warsaw.

The Cincinnati Art Museum also has one, which according to the RKD should be placed in the circle of the Master of the Bartolomew Altar.

A final anonymous but very good example is housed in Russia (picture via GettyImages, hence the annoying text on the image).

It would be wonderful to find the triptych to which this work belonged, or to be able to put a name to the artist. Still, it is an interesting example of a shortlived type of work of which only a few examples have survived.

UPDATE: sold for 10,000 Euro.

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