- Museum number
St Radiana attacked by wolves; her attributes of a bucket with comb and brush on ground, bottom left. Bottom right the coat of arms of Cardinal Matthäus Lang of Wellenburg. Landscape background with Wellenburg castle on l. c.1521
- Production date
- 1521 (circa)
Height: 205 millimetres
Width: 156 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See G. Bartrum, 'German Renaissance Prints', exh. cat., BM, London 1995, no.148.
Also T. Falk, 'Hans Burgkmair. Das graphische Werk', exh. cat., Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, Augsburg 1973, no.129.
Text from Bartrum 1995
Literature: Bartsch, 31; Burkhard 52, 3; Hollstein, 268
This is one of three very rare prints of St Radian which were all designed by Burgkmair c.1521 and which were all commissioned by Cardinal Matthaus Lang von Wellenburg, Archbishop of Salzburg, whose arms appear in the lower right corner (Hollstein, 266-8; see also 1895,0122.409). Radian lived at the end of the thirteenth century and was a maid in the service of the Lord of Wellenburg, a castle near Augsburg, which then belonged to the patrician family of Portner. She was devoted to caring for a nearby colony of lepers and used to take daily food to them in a tub from the castle. One day, on meeting her master, who complained at her generosity at his expense, she told him that she was carrying dirty linen for the wash. The food was miraculously changed into linen, and back into food again when he was out of sight. She was later attacked by wolves, supposedly in punishment for her lie, and died from her wounds soon afterwards. Although she was not canonised, Radian was venerated, especially at Augsburg, as a saint. At the order of Cardinal Lang, who had purchased the property of Wellenburg in 1507, the original chapel over her tomb was pulled down in 1521 and replaced by a church.
Tilman Falk discusses the development of the composition in the three versions and published two different states of this print and Hollstein, 267, which reveal something of their purpose. An early state of Hollstein 267 (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale) shows that Burgkmair originally showed Radian as an older woman with untidy hair; alterations to her face in the block in the second state (illustrated in Hollstein) indicate that Lang wished to promote instead an image of a younger, more attractive woman than the elderly maidservant she actually was. A later, altered state of Hollstein 268 (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett) shows alterations to the face and nimbus, which also have the effect of creating a more youthful appearance; and the castle in the background has been enlarged into a building of fantastical proportions, which probably nevertheless reflected work which Lang had done to the building (see Tilman Falk, 'Holzschnitte Hans Burgkmairs für Matthäus Lang', in 'Festschrift Otto Schäfer', edited by M. von Arnim, Stuttgart, 1987, pp. 26ff). These alterations support the notion that Lang commissioned the prints as a means of promoting his own political supremacy in the area, although they were also used as devotional images for those who visited the church where Radian was buried. Lang also had gold and silver coins struck in 1521 with his portrait on the obverse and a representation of St Radian based on Burgkmair's design on the reverse, of which there is an example in the British Museum (Department of Coins and Medals, inv. no. 1848,0215.327; see Campbell Dodgson, 'Burlington Magazine', xxxix, 1921, pp. 70ff).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995 Jun-Oct, BM, 'German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550', no.148
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number