A Delayed Return. Donation of an altar figure presumed lost
More than 100 years after Wilhelm von Bode purchased the medieval Minden altar in 1909, one of its figures, long thought to be lost, is now returning to the museum. In memory of his father Heinrich Wagner, Godehard Waldmann has generously donated the small wooden figure to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Michael Brandt, the director of the Dom Museum in Hildesheim, had previously identified the figure as belonging to the Minden altar. The figure will now be on public display at the Bode Museum, where the altar itself is located.
The high altar's retable consists of a Romanesque base or "predella" dating to 1220/30, as well as a Gothic main panel built around 1425. According to the latest findings, these two separate parts were united in the late 17th century. The retable originally comprised 43 small figures. Of these, 24 remain today, with 22 in the Bode Museum and two in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. The other figures have been lost or destroyed.