Pen and black ink, framing line in light brown ink
Inscription: Verso, Baumfeld's stamp at l.r.
Provenance: Prince Liechtenstein (sold, Klipstein and Kornfeld, Bern, 19 June 1960, lot 115); Lucien Goldschmidt, New York;
Rudolf L. Baumfeld, Los Angeles
Scope and Content:
A number of Huber's drawings of specific places document trips up the Danube to Germany in 1513-14 and down the Danube to
Vienna in 1529-31. Huber and Albrecht Altdorfer are the principal artists of the Danube school, a stylistic trend in German
Renaissance art distinguished by its emphasis on landscape and the transcendent dynamism of nature.
This rare drawing by an anonymous artist in the circle of Huber uses landscape to represent the presence of God in nature
itself, rather than as a setting for a traditional religious narrative. As noted by Peter Halm and subsequent authors, this
is one of several versions of a lost drawing by Huber. The spare, linear style of the present drawing, as well as the tendency
to focus upon the vertical elements of the landscape, such as the trees and the distant church steeple, become evident when
it is compared with the Goettingen version (see Winzinger 1979, vol. 2., pl. 181), which emphasizes the articulation of dense,
curling vegetation. Talbot and Shestack propose that these drawings are based on a Huber model of around 1515-25; Winzinger
believes this model would have been slightly later, however, adducing comparisons to drawings by Huber of around 1530.
Huber's more naturalistic depiction of a road to a church in an earlier drawing in Dresden (Kupferstichkabinett; Winzinger
1979, no. 66, dated ca. 1518-20) here gives way to a visionary approach to the theme, conveyed most explicitly through the
presence of the radiant sun (Sonnengestirn), a recurrent motif in the landscape imagery of the Danube school, expressing God's
vital presence in nature. Such pantheism is clearly evident in the present drawing, in which the diminutive church appears
to serve as an emblem of the divine energy coursing through the trees and furrowed hills that surround it. A similar juxtaposition
of the radiant sun and a church steeple occurs in Albrecht Altdorfer's earlier engraving of Saint Christopher of around 1515-20