A Bishop's Crozier, c. 1475-1480


Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.259

Not on Viewexpand_more

Martin Schongauer was the son of a goldsmith and likely learned to engrave lines on metal before moving on to become a painter. Part showpiece, part inspirational design, this engraving of the head of a bishop’s crozier, an elaborate staff that recalls a shepherd’s crook, a symbol of pastoral care. (Christ is likened to a shepherd; His followers to a flock.) Mary sits enthroned with the infant Jesus on her lap, while angels serenade them with a lute and an organ. Tiny men gambol on the gothic tracery above. Below her is a blank shield, a placeholder for a potential client’s coat of arms. Architectural niches ring the staff, each containing a saint. Margaret, left, stands on the dragon from which she escaped. Barbara, right, holds the sword that her father used to behead her and the chalice that symbolizes her Christian faith. The middle figure appears to be an emperor, perhaps the ancient Roman convert Constantine or the Saxon Holy Roman Emperor Henry II.

A Bishop's Crozier
Artist Life
c. 1440/53–1491
Accession Number
Friedrich August II (L. 971); Colnaghi; Knoedler & Co., 1928
Catalogue Raisonne
Lehrs 105; Bartsch 106; L.V.357.105
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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