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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Large Medieval Statue of Saint John the Evangelist

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LOT 0427

GBP (£) 12,000 - 17,000
EUR (€) 14,350 - 20,330
USD ($) 14,620 - 20,710

Opening Bid
£10,800 (EUR 12,912; USD 13,155) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0


A large carved wooden statue of Saint John the Evangelist standing robed and bare-footed, his head slightly inclined and hands interlocked and clasped at the chest so as to convey a contemplative attitude, the cuffs of his voluminous sleeves and the folds of his cloak falling sumptuously, the tassels of his belt resting within the deep, undulating pleats of his gown, his naturalistic face framed by immaculate curls of hair; retaining original polychrome pigmentation; an old label affixed to the rear; mounted on a later sympathetic base. 45 in. (27.3 kg, 114 cm high).

Within the inventory of Poschwitz Castle, Altenburg, Germany.
From the collection of a Thuringian noble family.
Private collection of Hans von der Gabelentz (ex director of the Weimar-Goethe Museum).
Kept in his castle-residence and visible on an old photograph of the 'Turmzimmer'.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr. Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11420-190981.

The sculpture is visible on an old photograph of the 'Turmzimmer' (Tower room) of the Poschwitz castle, in Gabelentz, H. Von der, Über ein halbes Jahrtausend auf angestammter Scholle. Geschichte der Herren von der Gabelentz auf Poschwitz 1388-1938, (Over half a millennium on our land of origin. History of the Lords von der Gabelentz on Poschwitz 1388-1938), Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, 1938, p.106; see also catalogue of Nagel, Alte Kunst & Antiquitaten, Fine Arts and Antiquities, Berlin, 16 Dezember 2021, no.2787.

Cf. a Late-Gothic wooden statues of St John the Evangelist from a crucifixion in Dáňová,H., and Pražáková, M. (eds.), UPROSTŘED KORUNY ČESKÉ - Gotické a raně renesanční umění východních Čech 1250—1550, (IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CZECH CROWN - Gothic and Early Renaissance Art of Eastern Bohemia 1250—1550, in Czech), Muzeum východních Čech v Hradci Králové, 2020, pp.142-143, 177.

Formerly owned by nobility and itemised within an inventory of Poschwitz Castle, dating to the first half of the 15th century. This statue is a rare survivor retaining original, uncleaned polychrome.

The existence of a moated castle in the current location of what is now known as Poschwitz Castle was first mentioned in 1264. The Lord of the Castle at the time was Otto von Poschwitz. The castle became the property of the von der Gabelentz family in as early as 1388. It unfortunately burned down to its foundation walls in 1507. It then passed on to Frederick von der Gabelentz, one of Albrecht von der Gabelentz' great-grandsons, who commissioned the construction of today's Renaissance-style castle. The statue was part of a wood carving group representing the crucifixion, with the central figure of Christ on the cross, before him Saint Mary and Saint John.