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Study for an Old Testament Figure (Moses?)

Matthias Grünewaldc. 1510–15

Renaissance and Reformation. German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach

Renaissance and Reformation. German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach

The silk embroiderer Hans Plock, a friend of Grünewald, integrated this drawing into a collage of images and texts in his family Bible. Thanks to a copy that has survived complete showing the figure with garment tassels, the excerpted figure can be interpreted as Moses announcing the instructions of the Lord to the people: “that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations” (Numbers 15:38).

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  • Title: Study for an Old Testament Figure (Moses?)
  • Creator: Matthias Grünewald and Hans Plock
  • Date Created: c. 1510–15
  • Physical Dimensions: 23.5 × 16.5 cm
  • Technique and Material: Charcoal, partially stumped flat, fixed, heightened in white with brush, later by another hand (Hans Plock) colored with reddish-brown and brown watercolor
  • Provenance: Count Wilhelm Heinrich Ferdinand Karl von Lepell Collection, acquired in 1824
  • Museum: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
  • Inv.-No.: KdZ 4190
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kupferstichkabinett/home.html
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett/ Jörg P. Anders; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; cat. no. 9 / Michael Roth
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: Grünewald: c. 1475–80 Würzburg (?)–1528 (?) Halle / Plock: c. 1490 Mainz (?)–1570
  • Artist Biography: Grünewald: The familiar name Grünewald for the Franconian painter Mathis Neithart was a product of posthumous historiography that identifies one of the most extraordinary, expressive, and coloristically rich oeuvres in sixteenth-century German painting. The magnum opus of the painter, who was active in Aschaffenburg for a long time and worked for Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, bishop of Mainz and Halle in the 1520s, is without a doubt the altarpiece for the Antonine church in Isenheim (1512–15). Grünewald painted the wings of Dürer’s destroyed Heller Altarpiece for the Dominican church in Frankfurt am Main, another important work of his epoch. / Plock: From 1515 Plock was running a silk embroidery workshop and in 1518 he entered the service of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg in Halle, for whom he produced textile works. Matthias Grünewald, who lived in Plock’s house in Halle for a time, gave him drawings that Plock reworked and added to a Luther Bible along with sheets by other artists.

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