St. Mary Magdalen

ca. 1650 (made)

Justus Glesker

Height: 17.3 cm, Width: 17 cm

A.7-1936 SCP

Statuette, ivory, St Mary Magdalene, attributed to Justus Glesker, German, ca. 1650

Statuette in ivory, Mary Magdalen. The draped figure of Magdalen, with a coiled plait on top of her head, kneels on her left knee, looking upwards and facing the left, with both arms raised. Over a loose robe she wears a voluminous mantle draped round her body and tied at the waist with cords. One end of the mantle is thrown over her left shoulder.

This ivory statue of St. Mary Magdalen originally formed part of a Crucifixion scene. It is attributed to Justus Glesker, made in Germany in ca. 1650. The son of a sculptor, Glesker (1610/20-1678) travelled in Italy and the Netherlands, before settling in Frankfurt in 1646. He produced large gilt wood crucifixion figures for the choir of Bamberg Cathedral, as well as other large wood sculptors also for the Cathedral in the late 1640s. His widow's inventory of works from his studio includes small-scale sculptures in ivory, and it is on the basis of this, as well as stylistic parallels with the documented large-scale wood sculptures, that ivory works have been ascribed to him, notably those at the Museo e Galleria Estense in Modena, and the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, although there are no known signed pieces.

Purchased from Mr G. Kerin for £9, 10s with the funds of the Murray Bequest in 1936.

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website