Elevation of St Mary Magdalene
Würzburg, c. 1490/1492
H. 190.6 cm (Magdalene) respectively H. 60.2–73.8 cm (angels)
From the High altar piece of St Magdalene church, Münnerstadt. St. Mary Magdalene acquired from the Sattler collection in 1901, the angels from the Streit collection in 1896, from the Wilczek collection in 1911 and from the Munich art trade in 1913
Inv. No. MA 4094, MA 3428, MA 3429, 11/305, 11/306, 13/1307, 13/1308
Among the major attractions of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum is the largest and most important group of works by Tilman Riemenschneider, the most renowned sculptor of German Late Gothic art. One of the main highlights is the figure of St Mary Magdalene from the high altar of the church in Münnerstadt in Lower Franconia. This early work by Riemenschneider was created in 1490/92 and depicts the Magdalene performing her prayers in company of the heavenly hosts. Only a close-up view reveals how subtly the carver has differentiated the hair that covers the saint's naked body: from the delicate down around her knees and feet to the heavy, long curls that cover her loins.