MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, German
(active after 1249)

Tomb slab of Archbishop Siegfried III van Epstein

after 1249
Stone
Cathedral of St. Martin and St. Stephen, Mainz

In contrast to the French 'gisants', the Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried III van Epstein, is shown on the slab of his tomb as not merely alive, but active. In a self-contradictory composition, his head rests on a pillow but his feet stand on the back of two animal figures, a dragon and a lion, pressed down by his weight. He is not alone, but accompanied by two smaller figures and his hands are placing a crown on the head of each. They have been identified as Landgrave Heinrich Raspe of Thüringen and Count William of Holland.

The imagery on this tomb slab amounts to a forceful assertion of the political claim of the Archbishop of Mainz to the right to crown German kings.