Head of a Prophet

French (Strasbourg)
Medieval (Gothic)
about 1300
Unidentified artist

Object Place: Strasbourg, France


36.5 x 23.5 x 25.4 cm (14 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 10 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





This deeply expressive head may come from the majestic Gothic cathedral in Strasbourg. Like many other churches, this cathedral was vandalized during the French Revolution, and sculptures were removed, destroyed, or decapitated. The pointed cap and the slightly open mouth indicate that the head represents a prophet, speaking his message. The face is sensitively carved, with furrowed brow, sunken cheeks, and pensive eyes conveying a strong personality.


Probably the head of a prophet on the façade of the Strasbourg Cathedral, France [see note 1]. Robert Forrer (b. 1866 - d. 1947), Strasbourg [see note 2]. May 8, 1944, sold by Gabriel Dereppe (dealer), New York, to Joseph Brummer (b. 1883 - d. 1947) for the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. N5949) [see note 3]; after Joseph Brummer's death, passed to his brother, Ernest Brummer, New York; 1956, sold by Ernest Brummer to the MFA for $2,000. (Accession Date: October 11, 1956)

[1] According to the Brummer Gallery stock card (N5949) and Dorothy Gillerman, Gothic Sculpture in America (New York: Garland, 1989), vol. 1, pp. 19-21, cat. no. 9. Gillerman also discusses the damage done to Strasbourg cathedral in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when figures were removed.

[2] According to Gillerman 1989 (as above, n. 1).

[3] Dereppe was a dealer who worked for Demotte, Inc., in Paris and New York.

Credit Line

William E. Nickerson Fund