The Master of the Unruly Children and his artistic and creative identities

Higham, Hannah Ruth (2017). The Master of the Unruly Children and his artistic and creative identities. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (1MB)


This thesis examines a group of terracotta sculptures attributed to an artist known as the Master of the Unruly Children. The name was coined by Wilhelm von Bode, on the occasion of his first grouping seven works in Berlin and London. Due to the distinctive characteristics of his work, this personality has become a mainstay of scholarship in Renaissance sculpture. Chapter One examines the historiography in connoisseurship from the late nineteenth century to the present and explores the idea of the scholarly “construction” of artistic identity.
Repeated attempts to establish historical identities for our Master have resulted in the unique characteristics of our corpus remaining undefined, and the context in which the sculptures were produced inadequately established. Chapter Two surveys the Florentine tradition and highlights a practice of copying that is evident in the corpus and indicative of common workshop production. New classifications into which the corpus (Appendix I) is divided are proposed.
Despite the singularity of subject matter associated with our Master an analysis of the iconography of the sculptures has never been carried out. Chapter three connects the works of our Master to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the humanist revival of antiquity, debates on the Church, notions of Charity, and the politics of Florence.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year