Memento Mori – St Magdalene
Christoph Daniel Schenck, signed
Constance, dated 1679
Carved pearwood (Pyrus communis)
Height 13 cm, width 8 cm
Monogrammed and dated “C.D.S. 1679“
On this superlatively worked small panel Mary Magdalene is depicted as a penitent sinner in an emotionally charged and dramatically turbulent scene. The artist who was responsible for this masterpiece of Baroque small sculpture left his signature discreetly in an inconspicuous place on the lower edge of the relief, on the binding of the Bible that is lying open in front of the Saint. It bears the date ‘1679’ and the monogram ‘C.D.S.’, which stands for Christoph Daniel Schenck, one of the most important south German sculptors active in the last third of the 17th century. Schenck came from a family of artists, whose members worked in south Germany and Switzerland near Lake Constance. At an early age Christoph Daniel was taught the craft of sculpture by his father and worked verifiably from 1680 in Konstanz. There he made sculpture on a large scale for church interiors while at the same time specialising in works in small formats in wood, ivory and alabaster, which were particularly prized by princely collectors in the latter half of the 17th century.