70. [German school]
Circle of BREU THE ELDER, Jörg
Drawing, pen and black ink, with brown wash, heightened with white, 24,7 x 17,6 cm, laid paper, unsigned (probably trimmed on all sides, paper reinforced around all edges, professionally closed tear at right edge).
Stuck by upper corners under passe-partout.
Ten female women praying to the right with a male saint behind them. The latter can either be identified as St Benedict or as St Antony. The composition is clearly a left section (wing) of a larger ensemble with the female patrons looking devotionally towards a religious scene occurring outside the viewer's scope. The ruins setting, together with the putto carrying garlands, are typical for the vogue for antique settings and Italianate ornament in Germany and the Low Countries during the second quarter of the sixteenth century. Other architectural elements such as the steep tower in the middle background and the high Mansard-like roof point towards South German (Bavarian) or Swiss draughtsmanship. The rendering of figures, the diagonal parallel hatching for shadows and especially the very linear drawing style recalls that of Jörg Breu the Elder (1475-1537), e.g. the architectural rendering of "The Story of Lucretia", in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (inv. 26). The escutcheon adorning the architecture on the left may be seen as belonging to the Guild of St Luke. Functionally, the drawing can be seen as a study sheet or vidimus for a side panel of a triptych or a stained-glass window.
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