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Veit Stoss ( ; c. 1445-1450 - 20 September 1533) was a German sculptor of the late Gothic school.

According to Catholic Encyclopedia, Veit Stoss was one of the first artists from Northern Europe who could be compared with Italian Renaissance artists. The power of expression of the gestures of his characters, compounded by the folds in their garments, give his sculptures a dramatic aspect.

Veit Stoss, besides being a sculptor, was also a productive engraver and painter. Through his engravings he could circulate his works on a generous scale. But even in the two-dimensional space of his engravings, he always expressed himself as a sculptor.


Stoss was born at Horb am Neckarmarker.

In 1473 Stoss moved to Nurembergmarker and married Barbara Hertz, where their eldest son Andreas was born. In 1477 he renounced his citizenship to the Franconian city of Nuremberg and went to Polandmarker. In 1484 he completed the magnificent polychrome wooden Altar of Veit Stoss at St Mary's Churchmarker in Krakowmarker. It was the largest altar of its time. Other important works of his from this period were the tomb of Casimir IV in Wawel Cathedralmarker, the marble tomb of Zbigniew Olesnicki in Gnieznomarker, and the altar of Saint Stanislaus.

In 1496, he returned to Nurembergmarker with his wife and eight children. He reacquired his citizenship for three gulden and resumed his work there as a sculptor. Between 1500 and 1503 he carved an altar for the parish church in Schwazmarker, Tyrolmarker known as the "Assumption of Mary." In 1503, he was arrested for forging the seal and signature of a fraudulent contractor and was sentenced to be branded on both of his cheeks and prohibited from leaving Nuremberg without the explicit permission of the city council.

Despite the prohibition he went to Münnerstadtmarker in 1504, and helped Tilman Riemenschneider complete the altar there. He also created the altar for Bamberg Cathedralmarker and various other sculptures in Nuremberg, including the Annunciation and Tobias and the Angel. In 1506 he was arrested a second time. Emperor Maximilian wrote a letter of pardon, but it was rejected by the council of the Imperial free city Nuremberg as meddling in its internal affairs. In 1512, the Emperor requested Stoss to help with the planning of the Imperial tomb in the Hofkirchemarker of Innsbruckmarker.

During the period 1515-1520, Veit Stoss received a commission for sculptures by Raphael Torrigiani, a rich Florentinemarker merchant who wanted to enter the Church. In 1516 he made for him Tobias and the Angel (now in Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg). His next assignment was a statue of Saint Roch for the Basilica of Santissima Annunziatamarker in Florencemarker. This wooden statue represents the saint in a traditional way: in the garb of a pilgrim, lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore in his thigh. Even Giorgio Vasari, who didn't think much of artists north of the Alps, praised in his book Le Vite this statue and called it "a miracle in wood".

Veit Stoss was buried at St. Johannis cemetery in Nuremberg.


  1. Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. Herbert Treadwell Wade, Talcott Williams, "The New international encyclopædia", Dodd, Mead and company, 1922, pg. 569 [1]


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