17th century wood cartouche or Wappenschild
A Large Antique Wooden Armorial Cartouche (Wappenschild), ca. 1620
Workshop or circle of Hans Zürn the Elder (1555-1631)
Size: 31 (h) x 24 (w) inches
This lovely and large wooden cartouche, once polychromed and gilt (now lost) would have featured the armorial of an important noble family.
Stylistically, comparisons can be made with the sculptural output of Hans Zürn the Elder and his workshop (or circle). Hans Zürn the Elder was the patriarch (father of Jörg and Martin) of the Upper Swabian Zürn family dynasty of sculptors. They are renown for their prolific activity in the region, inclusive of the production of armorial plaques.
The general facial character of the cherubs relate to a St. John attributed to Hans from a private Munich collection (ca. 1625). While the style of hair relates to that featured on his 1613 crucifix at Wangen im Allgau, Kapelle am Isnyer Tor. The outline or modeling of eyes relates to those observed on the characters in his Last Supper in Heiliges, Abendmahl, ca. 1619-24.
The present cartouche also bears some resemblance to a pair of painted armorial cartouches offered by Dorotheum auction house (May 10 2017, Lot 71) which were attributed to the family of Martin Zürn.
The present cartouche itself descends from the estate of a noble family, that of Carl-Anton Goëss-Saurau (1921-2015) and his wife Marie (1921-1996). The object was kept in the historic Schloss Pfannberg located in the Austrian countryside.
Condition commensurate with age (the polychromy and original gilding are almost entirely lost; the object must have split in two at some point, later repaired and there are additional stresses and cracks found throughout...overall quite stable and heavy, however).