Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg thumbnail 1
Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery

Wild man and woman supporting the arms of Kyburg

Panel
ca. 1490 (made), after 1500 (restored)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Stained glass
Brief Description
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.
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33.2cm
  • Width: 28.2cm
  • Depth: 3.2cm
  • Weight: 2kg
Gallery Label
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)
Object history
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
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.
Production
Came from a window in the castle of Kyburg, near Winterthur in Switzerland.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Associated Object
C.9:2-1923 (Part)
Bibliographic References
  • Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
  • H. Lehmann, 'Lukas Zeiner und die spatgotische Glasmalerei in Zurich', Mitteilungen der Antiquarischen GesellSchaft in Zurich, XXX (1926)
  • 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
  • Catalogue des Vitraux Anciens: Collection Engel-Gros, Paris, December 1922
  • Katalog der Glasgemaldesammlung von H. Lehmann und Zeller Werdmuller, Zurich, 1903
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
C.9:1-1923

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record createdNovember 18, 2003
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