Worship of the Golden Calf, The thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50b, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery

Worship of the Golden Calf, The

Panel
ca.1522 to 1526 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at the Cistercian abbey of Mariawald, in Germany. Founded in 1480, the abbey was closed down in 1802. The stained glass windows had been removed and are believed to have been bought by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Many were subsequently purchased by Lord Brownlow and installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire, between 1811 and 1831. In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction. A private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the V&A.

Each cloister window was composed of two openings (‘lights’). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So each window had eight panels. Two panels depicted scenes from the Old Testament and two panels scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels were two smaller prophet (or ‘messenger’) panels with half-images of Old Testament prophets. They held the biblical text relating to the Old and New Testament stories. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. The donors helped finance the cloister glazing.

This type of narrative arrangement is known as ‘typological’. Each Old Testament story was a ‘type’ or a prefigurement of a New Testament story (‘antitype’). This panel shows the Old Testament story of The Worship of the Golden Calf. Moses returned from the mountain, carrying the Ten Commandments given to him by God, to find the Jewish people worshipping the false idol. He ordered its destruction. This panel was placed just above that of The Fall of the Egyptian Idol (Museum no. C. 244-1928). This story, in the Apocryphal Pseudo-Matthew gospel, tells of an episode when the Holy Family were in exile in Egypt and a false idol fell and was destroyed when they walked past.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleBreaking of the Ten Commandments (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Clear and coloured glass with painted details and silver stain
Brief Description
Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the Worship of the Golden Calf and the Breaking of the Ten Commandments. From the cloisters of the abbey of Mariawald. Made in the workshop of Everhard Rensig or Gerhard Remisch. German (Lower Rhine), c.1522 to 1526.
Physical Description
Three men and two women dance around a column which is topped by a golden figure of a calf. Moses comes down from the mountain bearing the Ten Commandments.
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 72.9cm
  • Framed width: 70.0cm
  • In metal frame with perspex backing weight: 9.4kg
  • Framed depth: 3.2cm
  • Sight height: 68.5cm
  • Sight width: 65.8cm
Credit line
Given by E.E. Cook Esquire.
Object history
In the cloister of Mariawald until about 1802.

From about 1811 until 1928 it was installed in the Chapel at Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire.

(12 July 1928) Sold at Sotheby's.

The glazing of the Mariawald cloister, confined to ten windows on the west and north sides and one at the north end of the east walk, and made up entirely of two-light windows, seems to have started at the beginning of the second decade of the 16th century and probably continued until the early 1530s. From the surviving panels and the existing windows it can be seen that the programme was made up of paired Old and New Testament scenes arranged typologically one above the other (New Testament at the second level, Old Testament in the third), as in the Biblia Pauperum, with donor panels placed on the lowest level. A prophet with a scroll occupied the cusped head of each light.



Believed to be from the fourth window in the cloisters at Mariawald.
Historical context
Mariawald was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1480. The Cistercians were a monastic order established in 1098 in Burgundy at Citeaux. The founder of the Cistercians had broken away from the Benedictines which had been the first monastic order to be established in Europe, in the 6th century.



During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napoleon, many monastic institutions on the continent were 'secularised' and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Mariawald was closed down in 1802 but fortunately its buildings, including the cloisters, remain largely intact. However, the stained glass windows had been removed and it is believed that they were purchased by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Mariawald panels to various churches and to private collectors. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831.



In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.



This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at Mariawald. These panels come from ten windows on the west and north sides of the cloister, plus one from the north end of the eastern part. The glazing of these cloisters began about 1510 and seem to have been completed in the 1530s.



As the cloisters were never dismantled we can reconstruct how the panels were placed in the architectural structure. The window openings in the cloisters were each composed of two openings ('lights'). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So there would have been eight panels to each window.



From the surviving stained glass panels we can determine the theme of the cloister glazing. Each window had two panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament and two panels with scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels, were two smaller prophet (or 'messenger') panels. These contained half-images of Old Testament prophets holding scrolls with text relating to biblical passages connected with the scenes below. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. These donors were the ones who contributed to the financing of the cloister glazing.



This type of narrative arrangement is known as 'typological'. Each Old Testament story was a 'type' or a prefigurement of a New Testament story ('antitype'). For example, the Old Testament story of 'Elisha greeted by the Sons of the Prophet' was a prefigurement of the New Testament 'Entry of Christ into Jerusalem' which occurred on what we now call 'Palm Sunday'.



The typological arrangement was popular in the Middle Ages. The stories were reproduced in manuscripts and in engravings from woodcuts and collectively became known as 'Biblia Pauperum' ('Bibles of the Poor'). At the end of the 15th century the Biblia Pauperum were printed in book form and sold in their thousands. These books were used as design sources for artworks including stained glass panels.
Production
From the cloister of the abbey at Mariawald.
Subjects depicted
Literary References
  • Old Testament
  • Biblia Pauperum
Summary
This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at the Cistercian abbey of Mariawald, in Germany. Founded in 1480, the abbey was closed down in 1802. The stained glass windows had been removed and are believed to have been bought by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Many were subsequently purchased by Lord Brownlow and installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire, between 1811 and 1831. In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction. A private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the V&A.



Each cloister window was composed of two openings (‘lights’). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So each window had eight panels. Two panels depicted scenes from the Old Testament and two panels scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels were two smaller prophet (or ‘messenger’) panels with half-images of Old Testament prophets. They held the biblical text relating to the Old and New Testament stories. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. The donors helped finance the cloister glazing.



This type of narrative arrangement is known as ‘typological’. Each Old Testament story was a ‘type’ or a prefigurement of a New Testament story (‘antitype’). This panel shows the Old Testament story of The Worship of the Golden Calf. Moses returned from the mountain, carrying the Ten Commandments given to him by God, to find the Jewish people worshipping the false idol. He ordered its destruction. This panel was placed just above that of The Fall of the Egyptian Idol (Museum no. C. 244-1928). This story, in the Apocryphal Pseudo-Matthew gospel, tells of an episode when the Holy Family were in exile in Egypt and a false idol fell and was destroyed when they walked past.
Bibliographic References
  • Rackham, Bernard, 'The Ashridge stained glass', Old Furniture, vol.5 (1928), pp.33-7
  • Goerke, C., Das Zisterzienserkloster Mariawald, Mariawald, 1932
  • Clemen, Paul, Die Kunstdenkmaler der Rheinprovinz, Kreis Schleiden, XI, 2, Dusseldorf, 1932
  • Rackham, Bernard, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass', Burlington Magazine, Nov. 1944, pp.266-73
  • Rackham, Bernard, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass II', Burlington Magazine, April 1945, pp.90-4
  • Rackham, Bernard, 'The Ashridge Stained Glass', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 3rd series, vol. X (1945-7), pp.1-22
  • Neuss, Wilhelm, ed., Die Glasmalereien aus dem Steinfelder Kreuzgang, Moenchengladbach, 1955
  • Wolff-Wintrich, Brigitte, 'Kolner Glasmaleriei sammlungen des 19. Jahrhunderts', in Lust und Verlust Kolner Sammler zwischen Trikolore und Preussenadler, Exhibition Catalogue (Kunsthalle Koln), Koln, 1995, pp.341-54
  • Conrad, M., 'Zur Geschichte der alten Glasgemalde aus dem Kreuzgang von Kloster Mariawald', Heimatkalender des Landkreises Schleiden, 1969, pp.95-102
  • Zakin, H., 'Mariawald:Cistercian Narrative', in Stained Glass as Monumental Painting (XIXth International Colloquium, CVMA, Krakow, 1998), Cracow, 2000, pp.273-80
  • Jakob Polius, 'Analecta sive collectanea antiquitatem', Duren, Stadtarchiv, A30, Hs. 2
  • James Wyatt, Description of the Stained Glass Panels at Ashridge Chapel, privately printed, 1906
  • MR James, Notes of Glass in Ashridge Chapel, Grantham, 1906
  • Hermann Schmitz, Die Glasgemalde des Koniglichen Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin, Berlin, 1913
  • E. Wackenroder, Die Kunstdenkmaker des Kreoses Schleiden, Dusseldorf, 1932
  • William Cole, 'A Hitherto Unrecorded Panel of Stained Glass from the Abbey of Mariawald', Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, XVII (1981-2). pp.21-4
  • Avril Henry, ed., Biblia Pauperum, Scolar Press, 1987
  • Raguin and Zakin, Stained Glass before 1700, part 2, pp.127-9, 170-6
Collection
Accession Number
C.267-1928

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record createdApril 22, 2002
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