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Head of a Bishop's crozier with the Virgin and Child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Colmar (engraved)

  • Date:

    ca 1470 (engraved)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schongauer, Martin (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving on laid paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EO, shelf 115

This engraving depicts the top portion of a bishop's crozier - the ceremonial staff based on a shepherd's crook that is carried in procession by bishops and archbishops.

Martin Schongauer, son of a goldsmith, was among the first European artists to explore the full expressive potential of printmaking. Schongauer's novel use of the technique of engraving, developed from the goldsmith's long-established practice of decorating metal with engraved patterns, was recognized almost immediately and his prints were highly esteemed in his own lifetime. In this print Schongauer has shown a clear understanding for the artisan's creation and his knowledge of the best of the goldsmiths' craft.

Physical description

This part of the engraving depicts the top portion of a bishop's crozier. The curl of the crozier is decorated with seven crockets. Four tiny male figures climb through the tracery on top. At the centre of the crozier are the crowned Madonna, seated on a throne between two angels playing a lute and an organ. The Madonna holds the naked Child who is standing and blessing. A blank shield rests on the bottom of the circle, ready to receive the bishop's coat of arms.

Place of Origin

Colmar (engraved)


ca 1470 (engraved)


Schongauer, Martin (engraver)

Materials and Techniques

engraving on laid paper


Height: 263 mm maximum, Width: 93 mm maximum

Historical context note

'Lehrs was also convinced that the 'Crozier' offered evidence that Schongauer had actually been trained as a goldsmith to some extent in his father's workshop....It is certainly true that a goldsmith must work from a drawing and that this print would offer the possibility of multiple copies

Descriptive line

Engraving of a Bishop's crozier

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lambert, Susan (ed.) Pattern & Design: Designs for the Decorative Arts 1480-1980 London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983


Laid paper; Printing ink


Engraving (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Angel; Lutes; Portative organs; Crozier


Prints; Christianity; Religion; Images Online; Ornament prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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