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Relief - Death at a Battle

Death at a Battle

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850-80 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Relief in boxwood

  • Museum number:

    A.502-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This relief was formerly thought to be a model by the so-called Master of the Leaf Frieze, who was active in the first quarter of the 16th century, producing models in boxwood which were disseminated to be reproduced by craftsmen in lead or bronze. However the dwarf-like figures here exhibit disproportionate muscular bodies and facial types which are uncharacteristic of the first half of the 16th century. The presence of the figure of Death with an hour-glass, a subject which cannot be found in any 16th century medals or plaquettes, is a typical 19th century addition. It is very likely that the relief was made for the collector Frederic Spitzer - in whose collection this relief was - in the 19th century. Spitzer owned several such pieces in boxwood which were fabricated at the time to enhance his collection of models.

Physical description

A battle of five naked men, carrying shields and swords. One wears a plumed helmet. To the left Death as a skeleton lifting an hour-glass.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

ca. 1850-80 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Relief in boxwood

Dimensions

Height: 2.95 cm, Width: 6 cm

Object history note

Formerly Spitzer collection. Bequeathed by Salting to the V&A.

Historical context note

This relief was formerly thought to be a model by the so-called Master of the Leaf Frieze, who was active in the first quarter of the 16th century, producing models in boxwood which were disseminated to be reproduced by craftsmen in lead or bronze. However the dwarf-like figures here exhibit disproportionate muscular bodies and facial types which are uncharacteristic of the first half of the 16th century. The presence of the figure of Death with an hour-glass, a subject which cannot be found in any 16th century medals or plaquettes, is a typical 19th century addition. It is very likely that the relief was made for Frederic Spitzer in the 19th century. Spitzer owned several such pieces in boxwood which were fabricated at the time to enhance his collection of models.

Descriptive line

Relief, boxwood, Death at a Battle, unknown artist, Germany, ca. 1850-80

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

Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 175, pl. 325
'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 81
Jopek, Norbert. German Sculpture 1430-1540, A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2002, p. 155, cat.no. 73

Materials

Boxwood

Techniques

Relief

Subjects depicted

Men; Hour glass

Categories

Reliefs; Sculpture; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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