WOOD PORTRAIT STATUETTE OF PETER VISCHER (Sold)

Self Portrait Wood statuette of Peter Vischer Of all bronze workers, perhaps Peter Vischer is the best known and is certainly one of the best deserving of his wide fame. Peter Vischer was born about the same time as Quentin Matsys, between 1460 and 1470. He was the most important metal worker in Germany. He and Adam Kraft, of whom mention will be made when we come to deal with sculptural carving, were brought up together as boys, and "when older boys, went with one another on all holidays, acting still as though they were apprentices together." Vischer's normal expression was in Gothic form. His first design for the wonderful shrine of St. Sebald in Nuremberg was made by him in 1488, and is still preserved in Vienna. It is a pure late-Gothic canopy, and I cannot help regretting that the execution was delayed until popular taste demanded more concession towards the Renaissance, and it was resolved in 1507, "to have the Shrine of St. Sebald made of brass." Therefore, although the general lines continue to hold a Gothic semblance, the shrine has many Renaissance features. Regret, however, is almost morbid, in relation Page 142 to such a perfect work of art. Italian feeling is evident throughout, and the wealth of detail in figures and foliate forms is magnificent. The centre of interest is the little portrait statuette of Peter Vischer himself, according to his biographer, "as he looked, and as he daily went about and worked in the foundry." Though Peter had not been to Italy himself, his son Hermann had visited the historic land, and had brought home "artistic things that he sketched and drew, which delighted his old father, and were of great use to his brothers." Peter Vischer had three sons, who all followed him in the craft. His workshop must have been an ideal institution in its line.  

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