(active 1478-1500 in South Tyrol)

St Stephen

Polychrome wood, height 97 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Gothic sculptors followed the same path - from statue-columns and relief decorations to sculpture in the round - as their ancient forerunners, but their means of conquering space was the expressive lines rather than the anatomical softness of volumes. In Northern Europe this evolution can be traced in carved wooden altars, one of which included this piece, from the workshop of a celebrated Austrian sculptor. The first Christian martyr is presented in a deacon's robes holding a prayer book and stones, the instrument of his death.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.