A 19th century panel after a German (probably Ulm) relief of the Deposition by Georg Petel
Lot 1Y
Circle of David Heschler, German (1611-1667) A 17th century ivory relief of the Entombment
Sold for £10,000 (US$ 16,808) inc. premium
Lot Details
Circle of David Heschler, German (1611-1667)
A 17th century ivory relief of the Entombment
Christ lowered into the tomb surrounded by Saint John, Joseph and the three Maries, with a winged putto at the base beside a basket with the instruments of the passion and another putto helping to support the body of Christ, 27cm high x 22cm wide


  • This complex relief of multiple figures is made from numerous sections of ivory joined together, and would have originally been displayed against black lacquer. Many of the ivory carvers working in Germany in the mid to late 17th century were inspired by the works of the great painters, and the present composition appears to be an amalgamation of Caravaggio's Entombment, and Rubens' sketch of the same theme. Caravaggio's Entombment was painted for Santa Maria in Vallicella, and shows Mary of Cleophas at the top with arms outstretched, with Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary beside her. The present relief depicts the Maries in the same poses except that the Virgin Mary and the Magdalene are reversed. Rubens' later sketch adapted Caravaggio's composition and showed the body of Christ supported by Joseph more clearly to the left as in the present relief (Rubens adaptation of Caravaggio's work is now in the National Gallery of Canada, no. 6431). The position of Christ's body is derived from Michelangelo's Pieta which had a profound influence on both sculpture and painting from the 16th century onwards.

    David Heschler belonged to a large group of ivory carvers working in the Ulm region in the mid 17th century. There is a multi-figured relief of similar construction and composition depicting the Deposition, circa 1670-80, in the Walters Art Gallery which has been attributed to the pupil of Heschler, Johann Ulrich Hurdter of Ulm.

    Related Literature: R.H. Randall, Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery, Sotheby's Publications, London, 1985, cat no. 381, plate 49.
    Hans Vollmer, Allgeneines Lexikon der Bildenden Kuestler, volume XVI page 571 for comparables by Heschler.

Saleroom notices

  • £8000-10000
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  1. Rachael Osborn-Howard
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