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Panel - Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg
  • Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg
    Zeiner, Lukas, born 1445 - died 1513
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Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Zurich, Switzerland (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1490 (made)
    after 1500 (restored)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Zeiner, Lukas, born 1445 - died 1513 (attributed to, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stained glass

  • Museum number:

    C.9:1-1923

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval and Renaissance, room 10a, case 4

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This panel shows the arms of the Grafschaft (county) of Kyburg, which lies to the north-east of Zurich. It is thought to come from the parish church at Pfäffikon.

The shield is supported by the figures of a wild man and a wild woman. In the late Middle Ages wild men were celebrated for their qualities of strength and potency. They also symbolised freedom. They frequently appear as supporters of heraldic shields, especially in Switzerland in the late 15th and 16th centuries.

This panel is of the highest quality. It can be closely connected with the early work of Lukas Zeiner, a glass painter and glazier. His name appears in the town records of Zurich between 1479 and 1512. Zeiner was a leading glass artist in the field of heraldic painting and his style, which featured a coat of arms with supporters within an elaborate canopy, set the stage for similar work for the next 100 years.

The commissioning of secular, heraldic glass was becoming more common in the 15th and 16th centuries. This was especially the case on the Continent, where the rules as to who could claim a coat of arms were more relaxed than they were in England.
Heraldic shields with supporters of different types enjoyed great popularity in Switzerland over a long period. They were particularly popular in the secular settings of town and guild halls. Here they continued to be donated and displayed until the 17th century.

Physical description

Stained-glass panel executed in grisaille, flesh colours, silver stain and flashed red glass. The background is composed of four blue floral diaper patterns. The supporters are clothed in close-fitting hair garments and have a crown of flowers round their heads and a girdle of twigs round their waists. They each hold a wooden staff.

Place of Origin

Zurich, Switzerland (made)

Date

ca. 1490 (made)
after 1500 (restored)

Artist/maker

Zeiner, Lukas, born 1445 - died 1513 (attributed to, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Stained glass

Dimensions

Height: 33.2 cm, Width: 28.2 cm, Depth: 3.2 cm, Weight: 2 kg

Object history note

The panel was bought in Paris in 1922 from the sale of the Engel Gros collection. This collection came from an earlier collection, from the Baronne de Trétaigne.

Originally located in the castle of Kyburg.

Historical context note

Lukas Zeiner was a glass painter and glazier. He is recorded in the town records of Zurich between 1479 and 1512. At this time, the records are quite specifc and glass painters like Zeiner are often recorded by name rather than as simply 'glass painter'. The commissioning of secular, heraldic, glass was becoming more common in the 15th and 16th centuries, especially on the Continent where the rules as to who could claim a coat of arms was more relaxed than it was in England. Zeiner was a leading glass artist in the field of heraldic painting and his style which featured a coat of arms with supporters within an elaborate canopy set the stage for similar work for the next hundred years.

A panel with two wild men supporters and the arms of Lucerne is also attributed to Lukas Zeiner. It is in the collection of the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum in Zurich (inv.no. LM 23442). Antoni Glaser painted a panel with the arms of Lucerne and two wild men supporters around 1519-20. This panel is in the Great Council Hall of the Town Hall of Basel.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the arms of the county of Kyburg supported by a wild man and wild woman. Made in Zurich, Switzerland, by Lukus Zeiner, ca.1490.

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

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
Wild men, celebrated in the Late Middle Ages for their qualities of strength and potency and symbolizing freedom, frequently appear as supporters of heraldic shields, especially in Switzerland in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This panel shows the arms of the Grafschaft, or county, of Kyburg, north-east of Zurich, and is thought to come from the parish church at Pfaffikon, slightly to the south (for another panel of the Kyburg arms, of about the same date but without supporters, see J. Schneider, Glasgemalde: Katalog der Sammlung des Schweizerisches Landesmuseums Zurich, Stafa [1970], vol.i, cat. no.22). Heraldic shields with supporters of different types (see nos 52—3) enjoyed great popularity in Switzerland over a long period, especially in the secular settings of town and guild halls, where they continued to be donated and displayed until the seventeenth century. This panel, of the highest quality, can be closely connected with the early work of the Zurich glass painter Lukas Zeiner, who flourished between about 1480 and the second decade of the sixteenth century. The Museum is especially fortunate in its holdings of Zeiner's work: in addition to the two following panels (plates 52-3), there are two further panels with shields of arms supported by single angels (81 and 82-1865). The present panel has been restored in the lower part with fragments of old glass with diapering of a different pattern, but it is otherwise in excellent condition.
H. Lehmann, 'Lukas Zeiner und die spatgotische Glasmalerei in Zurich', Mitteilungen der Antiquarischen GesellSchaft in Zurich, XXX (1926)
Pl. I, p.31
Bernard Rackham, 'The glass painter Lukas Zeiner of Zurich and his school', Old Furniture, vol.8 (1929), pp.55-60
Timothy Husband, The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism, exhibition catalogue, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980
cat.56
Catalogue des Vitraux Anciens: Collection Engel-Gros, Paris, December 1922
Lot. no.38, illustrated on page 17
Katalog der Glasgemaldesammlung von H. Lehmann und Zeller Werdmuller, Zurich, 1903
no.13
H. Oidtmann, Geschichte der Schweizer Glasmalerei, Leipzig, 1905
Hans Martin Gubler, Die Kunstdenkmaler die Schweiz, Zurich, 1978
Paul Ganz, L'opeuvre d'un amateur d'art. La collection de Monsieur F. Engel-Gros
vol.II, pl.98

Exhibition History

The European Savage (Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Barcelona 18/02/2004-23/05/2004)

Labels and date

WILD MAN AND WOMAN SUPPORTING THE ARMS OF KYBURG

Wild men, celebrated in the Late Middle Ages for their qualities of strength and potency and symbolizing freedom, frequently appear as supporters of heraldic shields. This panel shows the arms of the county of Kyburg, north-east of Zurich, and is thought to come from the parish church at Pfäffikon, slightly to the south.

Switzerland (Zurich), about 1490; attributed to Lukas Zeiner
Museum no. C.9:1-1923; bought out of the funds of the Murray Bequest [(PW) 2003]

Production Note

Came from a window in the castle of Kyburg, near Winterthur in Switzerland.

Materials

Stained glass

Subjects depicted

Floral patterns; Men; Women; Diaper-work; Coats of arms; Lions; Escutcheons (coats of arms); Wreaths (costume accessories)

Categories

Stained Glass

Collection code

CER

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Qr_O85836
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