10th Tiberius Auction
Gais before 1474 – after 1500
Crescent Moon Madonna
Carved pine wood with original polychromy
Height 77 cm
This extremely high-quality Madonna figure shows typical characteristics of the great workshop of the late Gothic sculptor Hans Klocker. The Tyrolean carver was mainly active in the Brixen and Bozen area. He is one of the most important artists in South Tyrol of the late 15th century.
Klocker’s oeuvre is characterised by block-like closed forms and detailed realism. Mary’s restrainedly moving body is rendered particularly dynamic and majestic by the voluminous crease configurations of the drapery of the overgarment. The masterly rendering of the folds is characteristic of this Austrian carver of the late Gothic period, who borrowed from Hans Multscher and Michael Pacher. Particularly noteworthy is the “folded-in” fold above the knee of the right foot, which is placed on the face on the crescent moon.
The broad folded-over inside of the cloak is also presented in angular bowl pleats, a dynamic counterpoint to the veil draped over the head, which is often seen on Klocker’s figures. Underneath, long locks of hair resting on the shoulders emerge, carved in typical late Gothic manner. Also noteworthy is the crescent moon with a large face consisting of a prominent nose, high cheekbones, and bulging lips.
The naked baby Jesus, who seems to be cradling Mary in her arms with a tender gesture, holds a globe and is depicted in a jaunty sideways position, almost as if he were kicking his little feet and arms. The child’s snail-like curls frame a chubby face typical of the period. Klocker’s figures are also characterised by thin crescent-shaped brows, large eyes, plump faces with small chins, and ring-shaped neck wrinkles. These skin folds emphasise the humanity of the figures and introduce a degree of realism.
This Madonna is stylistically related to the figures in the wing reliefs of the famous Tramin Altar (1485-90) in the Bavarian National Museum and has an extremely similar quality of carving.
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