Saturday, May 12, 2018

Riemenschneider: Saintly work in wood on view in North Carolina

By Nathan Kotecki
Tilman Riemenschneider, Female Saint, circa 1490–95, linden wood with traces of paint, H. 38 in., Purchased with funds from the state of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)
RALEIGH, NC---On a recent stroll through the North Carolin Museum of Art, I circled back to the European galleries to spend more time with a solitary wooden sculpture on a riser. Neither full-size nor small, neither young nor old, this woman wears a crown of crosses and holds a book to her waist, over an elaborately draped gown. Her other hand is missing, sheared off at the forearm, perhaps the strongest indication of the centuries this sculpture has endured. Carved from linden wood, the statue is known simply as Female Saint and is the work of Tilman Riemenschneider, an exceptional German guild artist, whose life bridged the 15th and 16th centuries. The details of this figure make it feel more modern than would be expected of a 500-year-old work of art. [More]