A Censer

c. 1480–90
(German, c.1450–1491)
Sheet: 26.4 x 21 cm (10 3/8 x 8 1/4 in.)
Catalogue raisonné: Lehrs V.359.106
State: I/I
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The vine-like ornament that covers the openwork areas of this censer suggests a Christological metaphor of the grapes made into the Eucharist wine.


Censers are liturgical containers swung back and forth on long chains to disperse incense during the celebration of the mass. In this print, Martin Schongauer exploited his early training as a goldsmith to create a detailed reproduction of a life-size censer. The exquisite filigree design of the openwork areas, and the minute figurines of angels holding chains that crumple on the ground and cast slight shadows suggest that Schongauer's Censer could have been a close replica of an existing censer, or a model for a goldsmith.
A Censer

A Censer

c. 1480–90

Martin Schongauer

(German, c.1450–1491)
Germany, 15th century

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