Overview

Burchard, the English-born first bishop of Würzburg, Germany, died in 754. In this imaginary portrait, he raises his right hand in blessing. His left hand once held a curving crozier. The figure's facial type occurs repeatedly in the wood and stone sculptures of this famous German master: prominent nose and cheekbones, strong chin, long, sunken cheeks, and finely outlined, downturned mouth and eyes, suggesting a mood of slightly sorrowful contemplation. In this careworn, sensitive face, Riemenschneider explored the psychology of a man on whom spiritual authority seems to weigh heavily.

Hollowed out to make it light, the bust may once have been carried in religious processions. It has experienced some alterations since it was carved; the square, diamond-shaped cut on the chest was certainly made well after the sculpture was finished, possibly in order to fill the recess with relics.

Tiny traces of original coloring, removed long ago, may be noticed, for instance on the cope (mantle), where bits of blue and yellow remain. Although this particular bust was polychromed, Riemenschneider was a pioneer in the use of bare, unpainted wood for the sculpture on his major altarpieces. The black rings around the pupils, however, so important to the dreamy expression of the eyes, are typical of Riemenschneider's figures.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Wilhelm Sattler and his son, Jens Sattler [d. 1901], Schloss Mainberg (near Kitzingen), before 1826; (Sattler sale, Rudolph Lepke Kunst-Auction-Haus, Berlin, 29 October-2 November 1901, no. 63);[1] Benoit Oppenheim [1842-1931], Berlin, until at least 1927;[2] Munich art market;[3] Henry Goldman [1857-1937], New York, by 1934;[4] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris), by 1942;[5] sold 1944 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[6] gift by exchange 1961 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1906
Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst...(Silberne Hochzeit des allerhochsten Kaiserpaares), Redern'schen Palais, Berlin, 1906, no. 178, repro.
1945
Loan to display with the permanent collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1945-1961.
1956
German Drawings: Masterpieces from Five Centuries, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum (last venue of four, travelling exhibition circulated by Smithsonian Institution), San Francisco, 1956, not in cat.
1999
Tilman Riemenschneider: Master Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999-2000, no. 44, repro., as _Bishop Saint_.
2004
Tilman Riemenschneider: Werke Seiner Blütezeit, Mainfränkisches Museum Würzburg, Würzburg, 2004, no. 17.
2010
Van Eyck to Dürer, Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 2010-2011, no. 230, repro.

Bibliography

1884
Weber, Anton. Leben und Werke des Bilderhauer Dill Riemenschneider. Würzburg, 1884: 20.
1888
Streit, Carl. Tilman Riemenschneider. Berlin, 1888: 18, pl. 47.
1900
Tönnies, Eduard. Leben und Werke des Würzburg Bildschnitzers Tilmann Riemenschneider. Strasbourg, 1900: 256-257.
1901
Friedländer, Max J. Review of Leben Bildschnitzers Tilmann Riemenschneider by Tönnies Eduard. In Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 24 (1901): 468.
1901
Kunstschätze aus Schloss Mainberg. (Sattler Collection). Auction catalogue, Rudolf Lepke Kunst-Auction-Haus, Berlin, 29 October - 2 November 1901: 5, 11, no. 63, repro.
1904
Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft, Berlin. Deutsche und Niederländische Holzbildwerke im Berliner Privatbesitz. Leipzig, 1904: no. 57, pl. 29.
1906
Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst ... (Silberne Hochzeit des allerhochsten Kaiserpaares). Exh. cat. (by Albert Brinckmann) Redern'schen Palais, Berlin, 1906: no. 178, repro.
1907
Bier, Justus. "Tilman Riemenschneider." In Thieme-Becker. 37 vols. Leipzig, 1907-1950: 28(1934):334.
1907
Oppenheim, Benoit. Originalbildwerke in Holz, Stien, Elfenbein, usw. aus der Sammlung Benoit Oppenheim, Berlin. Leipzig, 1907: no. 10, pl. 6.
1911
Weber, Anton. Til Riemenschneider, sein Leben und Werken. 3d ed. Regensburg, 1911: 243-244.
1927
Pfister, Kurt. Riemenschneider. Dresden, 1927: 34.
1930
Bier, Justus. Tilman Riemenschneider: die reifen Werke. Augsburg, Germany, 1930: 111.
1937
"The Death of Henry Goldman [d. 4 April 1937]." Art News 35 (April 1937): 19.
1943
Bier, Justus. "The Bust of a Bishop by Tilmann Riemenschneider." The Art Quarterly 6 (1943): 159-165, repro.
1945
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 175, repro.
1946
Bier, Justus. "A Bust of St. Urban by Tilmann Riemenschneider." The Art Quarterly 9 (1946): 128-137, especially 128, 137, n. 7.
1946
Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Supplement to the Kress Collection." Art N 44 (February 1946): 26-29.
1946
Frankfurter, Alfred M. Supplement to the Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1946: 10, repro.
1955
Bier, Justus. "Riemenschneider as a Goldsmith's Model Maker," The Art Bulletin 37, no. 2 (June 1955): 103-112.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 83
1959
Bier, Justus. "A Virgin with the Christ Child by Tilmann Riemenschneider." The Register of the Museum of Art of the University of Kansas. 2 (June 1959): 2 -15, especially 14, n. 9.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 427, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 166.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 146, repro.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 620, 635, fig. 986.
1976
Middeldorf, Ulrich. Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century. London, 1976: 124-125, fig. 211.
1976
Pope-Hennessy, John. "A Quota of Masterpieces." Apollo 104 (1976): 72.
1978
Muth, Hanswernfried, and Toni Schneiders. Tilmann Riemenschneider und Seine Werke. Würzburg, 1978: 108, no. 113, repro.
1982
Bier, Justus. Tilmann Riemenschneider: His Life and Work. Louisville, 1982: 75-77, pls. 15 A, B.
1982
Muth, Hanswernfried. Tilmann Riemenschneider. Die Werke des Bildschnitzers und Bildhauers, seiner Werkstatt und seines Umkreises im Mainfränkischen Museum Würzburg. Würzburg, 1982: 20.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. Washington, 1984: 634, no. 993, repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 292, repro.
1994
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 194, repro.
1999
Exhibitions: "Tilman Riemenschneider: Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages." National Gallery of Art Bulletin No. 21 (Spring 1999): 19, repro.
1999
Tilman Riemenschneider: Master Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999-2000: no. 44.
2000
National Gallery of Art Special Issue. Connaissance des Arts. Paris, 2000: repro. 58, 59, 61.
2001
Kalden-Rosenfeld, Iris.Tilman Riemenschneider und seine Werkstatt, mit einem Katalog der allgemein als Arbeiten Riemenschneiders und seiner Werkstatt akzeptierten Werke. Königstein im Taunus, 2001: 128, repro.

Technical Summary

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