Heinrich Iselin

(fl. 1477—1478)

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(fl 1477–8; d Konstanz, 1513). German sculptor. He possibly came from Ravensburg, Upper Swabia, and he was the son-in- law of the cabinetmaker Simon Haider. According to a document of the Konstanz merchants of 1490, Simon and his son Hans, who could not themselves carve, ordered the carvings for a ‘werck’ for Weingarten Abbey, Upper Swabia, from Iselin for 100 gulden. This commission was probably for the choir-stalls of the monastery church, which according to 17th-century annals were produced in 1477–8. The 12 busts have survived, representing Moses, King David, an abbot, a master builder, Virgil, an emperor (probably Augustus) and possibly also a sibyl, as well as unidentifiable prophets and seers from pagan antiquity (Berchtesgaden, Schlossmus.). Stylistically the busts are indebted to the work of Nicolaus Gerhaert, and typologically they follow the busts on the choir-stalls in Ulm Cathedral (1469–74). Iselin's attempts to achieve strongly expressive faces using an ornamental system of lines and mimetic wrinkles are striking. Iselin had very probably worked on the choir-stalls of Konstanz Cathedral; the commission, originally intended for Gerhaert, was passed on to Simon Haider after 1467. Here the dorsal reliefs with busts of prophets and apostles, and perhaps also some stall ends, can be ascribed to Iselin. The dorsal reliefs show the animated style of the school of Gerhaert, but their powerful heads are still little differentiated compared with those of the Weingarten busts.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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