National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of A Bishop Saint (Burchard of Würzburg?) Tilman Riemenschneider (artist)
German, c. 1460 - 1531
A Bishop Saint (Burchard of Würzburg?), c. 1515/1520
linden wood with traces of polychromy
overall: 82.3 x 47.2 x 30.2 cm (32 3/8 x 18 9/16 x 11 7/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
On View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 12 of 12

A major German sculptor and also a high town official of Würzburg, Riemenschneider here portrayed a bishop presumed to be Burchard who was anointed Würzburg's first bishop in 741. The priest raises one gloved hand in benediction, while his other once held a pastoral staff. The fastener of his robe has been carved away to make room for a reliquary, formerly set inside the diamond-shaped hollow. The wood sculpture is similar to other busts that Riemenschneider carved for altars, tombs, and wall shrines. The sunken cheeks and furrowed brow masterfully convey the gaunt frailty of the careworn holy man. Traces of red pigment remain on the lips, and the black paint on the eyes shows the pupils diverging outward as though the bishop were experiencing a visionary trance.

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