Master workshop
Hans Klocker
before 1474, possibly in Gais -
After 1500

Around 1480/90

Stone pine wood carved
Original polychrome
Height 77 cm

This extremely high-quality Madonna figure (77 cm) made of pine wood shows typical features of the great workshop of the late Gothic sculptor Hans Klocker. The Tyrolean carver was mainly active in the Bressanone and Bolzano area. He is one of the most important artists of South Tyrol of the late 15th century.

This Madonna is stylistically related to the famous Tramin Altar (1485-90) in the Bavarian National Museum and has an exceedingly similar quality of carving.

Klocker’s oeuvre is characterized by block-like closed bodies 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 masterful rendering of the drapery 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” above the knee of the right foot, which is placed on the face on the crescent moon. The figures on the wing reliefs of the Tramin altar are particularly comparable:

The broad folded-over inside of the coat is also presented in angular bowl pleats, a dynamic counterpoint to the veil draped over the head that is often seen in Klocker’s figures. Underneath, long locks of hair resting on the shoulders emerge, carved in typical late Gothic style. The crescent moon with a large face consisting of a prominent nose, high cheekbones and bulging lips should also be highlighted.

The naked baby Jesus, whom Mary seems to cradle 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. In addition, Klocker’s figures are characterized by thin crescent-shaped brows, large eyes, plump faces with small chins and ring-shaped neck wrinkles. Through these skin folds, the humanity of the characters is emphasized, as well as a degree of realism is introduced.