(b. ca. 1460, Osterode, d. 1531, Würzburg)

The Last Supper

Limewood, height of figures c. 100 cm
Sankt Jakob, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

This relief is a detail of the Holy Blood altarpiece composed between 1499-1505. It is interesting to note that quite unusually the figure in the centre is Judas and not Christ.

The stylistic vocabulary of Riemenschneider is easy to characterize. His feminine figures, with some minor variants, all have a slender stature - narrow bust, frail limbs, fine hands - hair set in peaceful waves, a sweet face with smooth modelling and a broad flat forehead, eyes slanted towards the temples and circled by a fold of skin, a long nose and small mouth with a slight swelling of the lower lip. The masculine faces, built on the same plan, with, of course, thicker and more rugged features, present some distinct types found in many combinations in Riemenschneider's various works, as witnessed by the apostles of Rothenburg and Creglingen. The play of draperies, animated by uneven folds broken into multiple facets, is complicated but without excessive agitation. The calm features, delicate gestures and tranquil attitudes show a melancholy sweetness even when emotion or pain are expressed.