8. November 2009

Riemenschneider Engel aus Külsheim in London

Um das Jahr 1890 kamen auf ungeklärte Weise zwei Engel von der Pfarrkirche Külsheim in die Kapelle nach Wolferstetten. Diese Engel waren von Tilmann Riemenschneider aus Würzburg gefertigt. 1912 wurden die Engel verkauft und befinden sich heute im Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

Die folgenden Texte und Bilder stammen von der Internet Site des V&A Museums.

Linker Engel

Linker Engel (Quelle), im V&A als A. 16-1912 bezeichnet.

Physical description

The left angel (A.16-1912) rests on his left knee with his head turned slightly upwards. He holds the foot of a candlestick with his right hand while the stem is held in his left. He wears a beaded headband, an amice, and an alb under the dalmatic, the latter with fringed borders. A.16-1912 is made from three blocks of wood joined together, fixed with iron nails. A vertical joint runs from the bottom of the centre of the figure up to the elbow and horizontally to the left edge forming one block (h. 31.5; w [bottom] 20cm; w. [top] 7cm). On top of this a triangular shaped block has been inserted (h.7.5cm w.6cm). The rest of the figure is carved from a third block (h. 64cm; w. 20.5cm). A circular hole on top of the head, and the slots for the wings have been filled, the left slot with plaster. In the bottom are six holes, one of which is of an irregular shape (diam. 9cm). The top of the candlestick and some locks of hair are missing. A hole for a dowel is drilled into the stem of the candlestick. Some irregular cracks on the edge of the back and the front have been filled with plaster. The big toe of the protruding right foot is a plaster replacement.

Place of Origin



ca. 1505 (made)


Riemenschneider, Tilman

Materials and Techniques

Carved limewood, with traces of polychromy


Height: 64 cm
Width: 40.5 cm
Depth: 21 cm
Weight: 6.22 kg

Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries

Object history note

On acquisition (Review 1912, p. 5) the high quality of the carving of the angels was said to be "considerably obscured by a disfiguring coat of modern paint, and by the addition of the clumsily carved wings (see fig. *). The paint was carefully removed, a process which took several months, and the figures are now in their original state." Some traces of an earlier but apparently not original coating (silver over a vermilion ground) were revealed in the deeper folds, and the pupil and iris of the eye are indicated with a black stain, probably painted on by the sculptor himself. Weber (1888, p. 55) noted that the figures were "richly polychromed" ("reich polychromiert") and later remarked that they were "richly gilded ("reich vergoldet") (Weber 1911, p.232). While most of the paint was certainly of nineteenth-century origin, it probably comprised several layers of polychromy from different periods. The statement in the Review (1912, p. 5) that the "figures are now in their original state" almost certainly reflected the opinion, commonly held among scholars of the time, that most of Riemenschneider's sculptures were unpainted, although glazed and with certain details indicated (see cat.no.19). A recent examination of the traces of polychromy which remain on the alb, the fringe and the braid above the fringe of the dalmatics of both figures and the hair of A.16-1912 revealed some new facts about the polychromy: the albs were originally silvered, the fringes of the dalmatic blue, the braid above the fringes gilded, and the hair a light golden brown. The overpaint of these areas tended to imitate the original colours. The first layer on the alb red; the second and third repaintings were silver. The fringe was overpainted blue on the first, and then silvered with a green glaze the second and third time (report by Josephine Darrah of 2 June 1997; Departmental records).
The exact provenance of the angels is uncertain. According to Weber (1888, pp.54-55) they originally belonged to the parish church in Külsheim and were removed in 1771 to Wolferstetten and kept (although not owned) by the gilder Gustav Seitz in Külsheim. Oechelhäuser (1898, p.179) stated that they were the property of the gilder Seitz in Külsheim and that they were subsequently sold to the collector Carl Streit in Kissingen. However, Carl Streit's entire collection was acquired by the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich in 1890 and the angels were clearly not included. According to Weber (1911, p. 232) the figures were transferred to Wolferstetten from Tauberbischofsheim in 1771, where plaster casts remained. These plaster casts later formed part of the Neo-Gothic high altar which was created by the Seitz brothers in 1846 (Oechelhauser 1898, p. 176, pl. XIV and fig. 53), replacing a baroque altarpiece. The mayor of Wolferstetten declared in 1912 that the pair was bought in Würzburg at the time the chapel in Wolfferstetten was erected in 1764, whereas the verger of St. Martin in Tauberbischofsheim reported in 1912 that he suspected that the figures had been stolen from that church in about 1840 (Museum records).

Attribution Note

Probably from the parish church in Külsheim in Baden.

Rechter Engel

Rechter Engel (Quelle),  im V&A als A. 17-1912 bezeichnet.

Physical description

The right angel (A.17-1912) rests on his right knee and is shown looking downwards. He holds the foot of the candlestick with his left hand while the stem is held in his right. He wears a beaded headband decorated with integrally carved pearls, an amice, and an alb under a dalmatic
A. 17-1912 is also made of three blocks of wood analogous to A. 16-1912 but joined together without nails (first block: h. 29cm w. [bottom] 19.6cm; w. [top] 5cm; second block: h.8.5cm; w. 6cm; third block: h. 63cm; w.16.5cm). On top of the head is a hole filled with a dowel and an empty one: the dowel has been sawn off and then carved to imitate curls while the unfilled hole may have held a halo. Both slots for the wings have been filled with plaster. In the bottom arare four holes, two small ones, and two slightly larger circular holes: (One diam. 2.5cm; depth 11cm; another diam. 7cm; 3cm depth). The top of the candlestick is missing, and a hole is drilled into the stem. There are some surface-cracks, and a burn-mark on the locks framing the right side of the angel's face, probably caused by lighted candle. [statue]


Height: 63 cm
Width: 36.1 cm
Depth: 20 cm
Weight: 6.16 kg

Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries

Alle anderen Angaben entsprechen denen oben beim linken Engel.

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen