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The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara

probably Hans (Johannes) Siebenbürger (d. Vienna 1483)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1430 - 1469

Materials

Oil on panel (pine)

Measurements

730 x 546 mm (28 3/4 x 21 1/2 in)

Place of origin

Vienna

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Collection

Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 446804

Caption

Saint Barbara was an early Christian saint and martyr. Her father, who was a rich pagan, kept her shut up in a tower to preserve her from the outside world. She secretly became a Christian and was condemned to death by beheading. As shown here, her father himself carried out the death sentence. As punishment for this, he was struck by lightening. A panel depicting The Flagellation of Saint Barbara by her Father, in the York Art Gallery (Lycett Green Bequest), of the same measurements, was probably from the same series or altarpiece. The artist was possibly the master painter of the High Altar of the Schottenkirche in Vienna and the Lilienfeld altarpiece, now in the Belvedere, Vienna, and has been recently identified as the Transylvanian Hans (Johannes) Siebenbürger (d. Vienna 1483).

Summary

Oil painting on pine panel, The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara, probably by Hans (Johannes) Siebenbürger (d. Vienna 1483) (previously ascribed to Master of the Schotten Alterpiece II or Master of the Vienna Schottenstift as the other panel of the saint's flagellation was ascribed to in York Art Gallery) [according to latest research by Magdalena Lanuszka for York Art Gallery], circa 1469. The saint, wearing red robes, kneels in prayer in the foreground of a rocky landscape while her father, Dioscusus, in brightly coloured clothes, stands behind her grasping her hair in his left hand, a sword raised in his right with which he is about to decapitate her; right, two men look on, the foremost of whom wears an embroidered robe edged with fur and a patch over his right eye; in the distance is a village on a hill. Siebenbürger received his training from Hans Pleydenwurfff in Nuremberg who was also was the teacher of Michael Wolgemut to whom this painting was previously attributed.

Provenance

Given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948) shortly before his death in 1948

Makers and roles

probably Hans (Johannes) Siebenbürger (d. Vienna 1483), artist Master of The Schotten Altar II (fl. late 14th - early 15th century) , artist previously catalogued as attributed to Michael Wolgemut (Nuremberg 1434/37 - Nuremberg 1519) , artist

References

Suckale 2004 Robert Suckale, 'Der Maler Johannes Siebenbürger (um 1440 – 1483) als Vermittler Nürnberger Kunst nach Ostmitteleuropa', Die Länder der böhmischen Krone und ihre Nachbarn zur Zeit der Jagiellonenkönige (1471 – 1526)(ed. Evelin Wetter), 2004 Jenei 2013 Dana Jenei, Contributions to the Transylvanian Panel painting at the end of the Fifteenth Century in Brukenthal Acta Musei, VIII, 2, 2013, pp. 214-224

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