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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.


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

Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst...(Silberne Hochzeit des allerhochsten Kaiserpaares), Redern'schen Palais, Berlin, 1906, no. 178, repro.
Loan for display with the permanent collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1945-1961.
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.
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.
Tilman Riemenschneider: Werke Seiner Blütezeit, Mainfränkisches Museum Würzburg, Würzburg, 2004, no. 17.
Van Eyck to Dürer, Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 2010-2011, no. 230, repro.


Weber, Anton. Leben und Werke des Bilderhauer Dill Riemenschneider. Würzburg, 1884: 20.
Streit, Carl. Tilman Riemenschneider. Berlin, 1888: 18, pl. 47.
Tönnies, Eduard. Leben und Werke des Würzburg Bildschnitzers Tilmann Riemenschneider. Strasbourg, 1900: 256-257.
Friedländer, Max J. Review of Leben Bildschnitzers Tilmann Riemenschneider by Tönnies Eduard. In Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 24 (1901): 468.
Kunstschätze aus Schloss Mainberg. (Sattler Collection). Auction catalogue, Rudolf Lepke Kunst-Auction-Haus, Berlin, 29 October - 2 November 1901: 5, 11, no. 63, repro.
Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft, Berlin. Deutsche und Niederländische Holzbildwerke im Berliner Privatbesitz. Leipzig, 1904: no. 57, pl. 29.
Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst ... (Silberne Hochzeit des allerhochsten Kaiserpaares). Exh. cat. (by Albert Brinckmann) Redern'schen Palais, Berlin, 1906: no. 178, repro.
Bier, Justus. "Tilman Riemenschneider." In Thieme-Becker. 37 vols. Leipzig, 1907-1950: 28(1934):334.
Oppenheim, Benoit. Originalbildwerke in Holz, Stien, Elfenbein, usw. aus der Sammlung Benoit Oppenheim, Berlin. Leipzig, 1907: no. 10, pl. 6.
Weber, Anton. Til Riemenschneider, sein Leben und Werken. 3d ed. Regensburg, 1911: 243-244.
Pfister, Kurt. Riemenschneider. Dresden, 1927: 34.
Bier, Justus. Tilman Riemenschneider: die reifen Werke. Augsburg, Germany, 1930: 111.
"The Death of Henry Goldman [d. 4 April 1937]." Art News 35 (April 1937): 19.
Bier, Justus. "The Bust of a Bishop by Tilmann Riemenschneider." The Art Quarterly 6 (1943): 159-165, repro.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 175, repro.
Bier, Justus. "A Bust of St. Urban by Tilmann Riemenschneider." The Art Quarterly 9 (1946): 128-137, especially 128, 137, n. 7.
Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Supplement to the Kress Collection in the National Gallery." Art News 44, no. 20 (February 1946): 26-29.
Frankfurter, Alfred M. Supplement to the Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1946: 10, repro.
Bier, Justus. "Riemenschneider as a Goldsmith's Model Maker," The Art Bulletin 37, no. 2 (June 1955): 103-112.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 83.
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.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 427, repro.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 166.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 146, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 620, 635, fig. 986.
Middeldorf, Ulrich. Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century. London, 1976: 124-125, fig. 211.
Pope-Hennessy, John. "A Quota of Masterpieces." Apollo 104 (1976): 72.
Muth, Hanswernfried, and Toni Schneiders. Tilmann Riemenschneider und Seine Werke. Würzburg, 1978: 108, no. 113, repro.
Bier, Justus. Tilmann Riemenschneider: His Life and Work. Louisville, 1982: 75-77, pls. 15 A, B.
Muth, Hanswernfried. Tilmann Riemenschneider. Die Werke des Bildschnitzers und Bildhauers, seiner Werkstatt und seines Umkreises im Mainfränkischen Museum Würzburg. Würzburg, 1982: 20.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. Washington, 1984: 634, no. 993, repro.
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 292, repro.
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 194, repro.
Exhibitions: "Tilman Riemenschneider: Sculptor of the Late Middle Ages." National Gallery of Art Bulletin No. 21 (Spring 1999): 19, repro.
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.
National Gallery of Art Special Issue. Connaissance des Arts. Paris, 2000: repro. 58, 59, 61.
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.
Borchert, Till-Holdger. " Holy Bishop (Saint Burchard?)." In Van Eyck to Dürer: The Influence of Early Netherlandish Painting on European Art, 1430-1530. Edited by Till-Holger Borchert. Exh. cat. Bruges 2010. London, 2011: 416, no. 230, color fig.

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