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Study of a Kneeling King with Two Angels

Matthias Grünewaldc. 1516/1519 - 1519

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

This idiosyncratic composition has attracted a wide range of interpretations. It depicts a kneeling king, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre, who seems to be in the midst of either rendering homage or giving a blessing. Two winged cherubim, the closer of the pair wearing a similarly crown-like diadem, hold the train of the king’s robe, the material crumpling into heavy folds as it falls between two bare trees. Most strikingly, the incorporation of the scene into what appears to be a landscape of gnarled woodland runs counter to the usual visual scheme. A range of interpretations, each deploying different arguments, have variously suggested that the study forms part of a depiction of the Annunciation to Mary, the Adoration of the Magi, or the Coronation of the Virgin. Panofsky, meanwhile, sees the figure as representing Christ, kneeling for the Counsel of Redemption.

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  • Title: Study of a Kneeling King with Two Angels
  • Creator: Matthias Grünewald
  • Date: c. 1516/1519 - 1519
  • Physical Dimensions: w36.7 x h28.8 cm
  • Type: Drawing
  • Medium: Charcoal, partially wiped, fixed and heightened with white
  • Inv.-No.: KdZ 2040
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Jörg P. Anders │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Michael Roth
  • Collection: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Artist Gender: Male
  • Artist Dates: around 1475 - around 1528

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