SOUTH GERMAN 1460-1531
In its last phase Gothic sculpture cast off most of the conventions through which it had formerly ex-pressed itself and approached the complete natural-ism of the Renaissance; but among the less accessible regions the Gothic habit lingered far longer than elsewhere, and in some out-of-the-way places work essentially Gothic was still being produced nearly a hundred years after the revival of classicism had become an unchangeable fact in Italy. In Germany, from Romanesque times onward, art always persisted in the established mode long after other nations had changed their ways, and at a time when the fever for the Renaissance was sweeping all before it, artists from the South German mountains were the most reluctant of the fraternity to relinquish their Gothic inheritance. However, they could scarcely resist the inevitable, and this bust by Hans Tilman Riemenschneider, of the School of Würzburg, one of the best-known sculptors of the region, shows an assimilation of Renaissance realism with a style which is still fundamentally Gothic and conventional. Riemenschneider was a leader among wood-carvers of his generation, who at that time exhibited the highest facility in this favorite German medium. The subject of the bust is a youthful, unidentified man, probably a saint, and the type may be compared with the Madonna of Riemenschneider’s school, recently purchased by the Museum. The Altman bust retains much of its original painted surface. It was formerly in the Schreiber Collection in Esslingen, Wurtemberg.