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  • Place of origin:

    Upper Swabia (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    painted and gilded limewood

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Mr Henry Oppenheimer through Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture 1300-1600, Room 26, case 1

This relief representing St Catherine of Alexandria probably formed part of a wing of an altarpiece. The style of the drapery and the facial features have their closest affinities with altarpieces produced in the workshop of Jakob Maurus, active in Kempten/Allgäu around 1510-20. Although this is not likely to come from Maurus's own workshop, the scheme of the drapery the physiognomies, and the thick curly locks of hair seen in this relief are stylistically closely related to his work, and were probably made in the region of Kempten, Upper Swabia.

Physical description

The crowned figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria stands with the right foot protruding, her head slightly inclined, looking to her left. She holds a sword in her right hand, and with her left catches the folds of her cloak which falls over her left shoulder. She wears a small cape over her shoulders, and a high-waisted and belted gown with wide sleeves. At her left are two posts and a wheel.

Place of Origin

Upper Swabia (made)


ca. 1520 (made)



Materials and Techniques

painted and gilded limewood


Height: 109 cm, Width: 45 cm, Depth: 4 cm

Object history note

Probably exhibited at the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA, before 1927. Acquired by Henry Oppenheimer from an unknown American private collection at an unknown date before 1927. Given by Oppenheimer together with A.90-1927 through the National Art Collection Fund in 1927

Historical significance: The style of the drapery and the facial features have their closest affinities with altarpieces of Jakob Maurus, active in Kempten/Allgäu in southwest Germany around 1510-20.

Historical context note

The reliefs of St Catherine and an unidentified female saint (A.90-1927) formed probably originally part of a wing of an altarpiece.

Descriptive line

Relief St Catherine of Alexandria. Wood polychrome and gilt. Swabian ca. 1520.

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

Jopek, Nobert. German Sculpture 1430-1540: A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publications, 2002, cat. no. 46a. p. 102.

Labels and date

St Catherine of Alexandria
About 1520
This relief, and the other to the far right, was probably
made for the wing of an altarpiece. It would have been
set against a flat, painted or gilded background. St
Catherine protested against the persecution of Christians
under the emperor Maxentius. She was tortured on a
wheel and then beheaded.
Germany, Upper Swabia
Painted and gilded limewood
Given by Henry Oppenheimer through the Art Fund
Museum no. A. 89-1927 [26/11/2010]




Sculpture; Christianity


Sculpture Collection

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