Important leadlight by Stephan Kellner, interior scene with Brit Milah, 1853

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Stephan Kellner (1812-67), German, signed & dated 1853Brit Milah, the circumcision of Christ, after an engraving by Hendrik Goltzius, 1594.

Condition

some damages, possible replacement piece to plain red robe on left.

Size

38x49cm

References

Stephan Kellner was a Nuremberg glass artist, active by the 1840’s and exhibiting in the 1851 Great Exhibition. The V&A Museum purchased two examples of his work in 1845 for their stained glass collection. The source of the image was an engraving by Hendrik Goltzius, a 16th century Haarlem printmaker who set out to make a series of the life of the Virgin, with six different prints in the style of earlier famous artists. This scene is after Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), although the scene is entirely Goltzius’s. He has used the interior of his local church - St Bavo in Haalem - and has dated it in a similar manner to Durer’s ‘AD’, with his HG 1594 in the foreground. He also included himself, just through the archway looking at the viewer. The story is that Goltzius was so proud of his tribute to Durer, he aged a copy and presented it as a newly discovered Durer, only laying claim after it changed hands for a vast sum of money! The technique Kellner used in this panel is superb, with the colours being mixed as a silver-based stain, carefully stippled and scratched-out to give a similar effect an engraving does. Each colour is fired separate, and the layers built up to create a great feeling of depth. The final black layer blocks light to create shadows, resulting in a remarkably atmospheric interior.

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