Veit Stoss

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stoss, Veit


(also Wit Stosz, Wit Stwosz). Born circa 1455 in Horb, Württemberg; died 1533 in Nuremberg. German sculptor, painter, and engraver; marked the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in German and Polish sculpture.

From 1477 to 1496, Stoss worked primarily in Kraków. His works executed in Poland include the tombstone of Peter of Bnin (stone, c. 1494) in the cathedral in Wfoctawek and his most important Polish work, the high altar of the Church of St. Mary in Kraków (wood, 1477–89). The altar has a round wooden sculpture in the central portion and relief work, with painted landscape backgrounds, on the side panels. The festive polychromy of the Kraków altar, its wealth of human types, and its dramatic emotional force, which is emphasized by the tense rhythm of the folds of the clothing, place this work by Stoss among the finest examples of European sculpture.

In 1496, Stoss returned to Nuremberg, where he was to remain for virtually the rest of his life. His works from the 1490’s to the 1520’s include the Madonna From Stoss’ House (wood, c. 1499, German National Museum, Nuremberg), the Annunciation (wood, 1517–18, Church of St. Lorenz, Nuremberg), and the altar of the cathedral in Bamberg (wood, 1520–23). These works attest to a deepening of Stoss’ Renaissance tendencies. The faces are softer and smoother; the play of the folds of the clothing and the gestures and poses of the figures reveal more harmoniously the plasticity of the forms. Stoss, moreover, made less use of polychromy in these later works.


Dettloff. S. Wit Stosz, vols. 1–2. Wroclaw, 1961.
Lutze. E. Veit Stoes, 4th ed. Munich, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Artisans Such as Veit Stoss and Tilman Riemenschneider used basswood in their altarpieces, he said.
It was these two precursors, in the author's view, that were "harmoniously blended in a revised configuration" (24), thus producing the normative type; and it was this type that furnished the stage for artistic innovation and the experiments in plastic form by Niclas Gerhaerts van Leyden and Michael Pacher, the theatrical spaces of Veit Stoss and Tilman Riemenschneider, and the riotous swirling rhythms of the Zwettl Master.
Its sculptor Veit Stoss of Nuremberg, who spent twenty years in Krakow, had become (as Wit Stwosz) a romantic figure in the Polish imagination.
Mary's Cathedral, the magnificence on every surface, the golden stars on a heavenly nighttime blue-sky ceiling, the central crucifix, the reredos at the High Altar created by Veit Stoss between 1477 and 1489, produce a sense of beatific calm mixed with awe.
This wood trade was a popular source for items in the Middle Ages and later the craft was used by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and the German sculptor and woodcarver, Veit Stoss.
As such, the statue contrasts with the amazing image of Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, carved by Veit Stoss, and placed next to Matthew to show the strong differences between these two masters.
These artists include the sculptors Veit Stoss, who seems to have been both colleague and competitor, and Niclaus Gerhaert von Leiden, the older artist from whom Riemenschneider seems to have learned the most, and the engraver Martin Schongauer, a crucial figure both for his own compositions, which served Riemenschneider as models, and for his role as a disseminator of Rogier van der Weyden's images, which influenced the sculptor profoundly.
Deft judgments are made on long-running academic disputes, such as whether the Creglingen altarpiece is in its original location or not (it is), and some persistent misconceptions are corrected (the Krakow altarpiece by Veit Stoss was financed by the Polish as well as the expatriate German community).
This church contains the Gothic masterpiece which took Veit Stoss, the Nuremberg sculptor, twelve years to complete.