Master of the Plzeň Crucifixion Group (Active between ca. 1430 and 1460 in Nuremberg and Plzeň - )

St John Mourning

Master of the Pilsen Cruzifixion Group, St John Mourning, Nuremberg, ca.  1440
Master of the Pilsen Cruzifixion Group, St John Mourning, Nuremberg, ca. 1440

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Master of the Plzeň Crucifixion Group

Active between ca. 1430 and 1460 in Nuremberg and Plzeň -

This unknown artist is one of the finest representatives of the generation that began in around 1430 to take a fresher look at reality and to revise the patterns the International Style had routinely employed with new formal solutions. Rather than breaking radically with tradition, however, this sculptor cautiously refined it. He placed great emphasis on emotion and expression, developing an almost elegiac pathos. His name has not been recorded, but he can be associated with Nuremberg. In that city (in St. Egidien and St. Rochus) and in the surrounding Franconian region (Langenzenn, Fürth-Poppenreuth, Bamberg), he left behind a small oeuvre in which the figure of John in the Liebieghaus stands at the very beginning, chronologically speaking. His designation derives from the larger-than-life-size sculptures of the triumphal cross group in  the Church of St. Bartholomew in Plzeň, Bohemia, dating from ca. 1450, an early example of Nuremberg production for export. The sculptor probably relocated to this episcopal seat after 1450, since works of his after that date can be identified there but not in the Nuremberg region. His most important work alongside the group in Plzeň is a small crucifixion group in the Evangelische Pfarrkirche in Fürth-Poppenreuth, which is one of the very finest of the period. Only three museums have works by this master in their possession: the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (a Saint Bishop), the Ulmer Museum (a St. James) and the Liebieghaus (a St. John the Evangelist in Mourning).

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