Statuette of Saint John

Lower Rhineland
Medieval (Gothic)
about 1475

Object Place: Europe, Germany, Lower Rhine


12.06 x 4.1 x 3.2 cm (4 3/4 x 1 5/8 x 1 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Metal; silver (various pieces: 93.1-97.7% silver, 1-2.5% copper, .8-1.5% gold, up to 3.1% lead)

On View

I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)





Hollow standing figure on a thin hatched base with two pairs of rivets in the back of the head and an iron pin in the base; finished more simply in back. Body comprising many pieces (about 3 mm. thick) cut, hammered, soldered, and engraved; head and neck (one piece) hammered and chased; hands solid cast in one piece and soldered. The head, turned slightly, has windswept curly hair, a furrowed brow, sunken cheeks, deeply carved parted lips and an intense stare. Wearing a gown with upright collar, a mantle tied at the neck falling in deep angular folds, and a knife hanging from a rosette at the waist, Saint John stands in a contrapposto pose with the toes of his left foot visible and with hands raised in a gesture of mourning. A cylinder of metal surrounding the iron pin extends about 10 mm. into the base of the figure.


Richard von Kaufmann (b. 1849 - d. 1908), Berlin; December 4, 1917, Kaufmann sale, Cassirer and Helbing, Berlin, lot 421, sold for 9,500 M. March 5, 1929, anonymous ("v. B." collection) sale, Rudolf Lepke, Berlin, lot 220. 1950, Blumka Gallery, New York; 1950, sold by Blumka to the MFA for $2,500 [see note 1]. (Accession Date: January 12, 1950)

[1] The MFA acquired accession nos. 50.2, 50.3, and 50.4 together.

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund