13th century sculpture, St John the Evangelist

Circa 1280
Anglo-Norwegian, probably Nidaros Diocese (vicinity of Trondheim)

W 12" × H 54" × D 6.5"

Stock # Marh091


More information

Early Gothic figure of St John the Evangelist in mourning, from Calvary group. Anglo-Norwegian, probably Nidaros Diocese (vicinity of Trondheim) , St John the Evangelist, c. 1280. Pine with remains of original polychrome on linen and chalk ground. The extreme attenuation of this figure, the use of pine (very little oak grew in western Scandinavia) and the distinctive configuration of the drapery, and other stylistic features relate it to a group of surviving English-influenced wood sculpture produced in West Norway during the thirteenth century. The Classically-inspired form of head and hair, the subtle contapposto stance, and the overall relief-like thinness of the figure (all traits of Early Gothic English sculpture) can be seen in the well-known Mosvik Church St Michael and its cognates. These objects are generally accepted as the work of immigrant English artisans who arrived in West Norway to participate in the rebuilding of Trondheim Cathedral in the mid-thirteenth century as a result of close ties between England and King Haakon Haakonsson. This group artisans was earlier involved in the sculptural programmes of on Wells and Lincoln cathedrals and Westminster Abbey Chapter House, and a number of them remained in Norway to work on other local projects and train apprentices. For more on Early Gothic Anglo-Norwegian wood sculpture see: Jonathan Alexander and Paul Binski (eds.), The Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England, 1200-1400, an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 6 November 1987-6 March 1988 (London: Royal Academy of Arts in association with Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1987), pp. 231-232, 303-304, 320-321 cats. 99, 250, 290 Aron Andersson, English Influence in Norwegian and Swedish Figursculpture in Wood, 1220-1270 (Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1950) Martin Blindheim, Gothic Painted Wooden Sculpture in Norway, 1220-1350 (Oslo: Messel Forlag, 2004)