|Title||Death of St. Mary|
The second of Martin Schongauer's (ca. 1430-1491) engravings belonging to the traditional cycle of the "Sorrows of the Virgin" (from his Life of the Virgin series), "Death of the Virgin" was very popular and endlessly copied in his own time. It was common for engraved copper plates to be re-cut once they were exhausted, often by copyists who applied their own monograms and claimed the imagery as their own. We have yet to determine the period of this facsimile of one of Schongauer's most admired and influential engravings.
This print was considered particularly daring because it broke the German art tradition in of depicting the Virgin on her deathbed viewed from the side, with the Apostles standing
behind in a row. Instead, it follows the Flemish pictorial tradition showing the foreshortened view from the foot of her bed. It also left out the familiar medieval figure of Jesus holding the soul of his mother as a little girl. The print is further notable for its visual reference to a well-known Jan van Eyck painting in its depiction of glasses held over a book, magnifying the text below; and for its inclusion of an elaborately detailed candle stick at the foot of the bed, a detailed blueprint for a metalwork design. Remarkable too is the skillful attention to the patterned folds of the drapery and robes of the Apostles. It is no wonder that Israhel von Meckenem and other monogrammists and copyists used this image: it was a very marketable commodity, especially in a period when the Ars morendi (The Art of Dying) was a popular book of the day.
* Antonia Perez, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, 60.
|Medium/Material||Ink on paper|
|Dimensions||H-10 W-6.5 inches|
|Year Range from||1470|
|Year Range to||1475|
15th century AD
Death of the Virgin
|Exhibition and Publication History||* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 61, ill.|