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In the German city of Nürnberg, a work of art can be found, where the snail has a modest, yet an important role. The  most important piece of equipment in the pre-Reformation St. Sebald church is, without doubt, the tomb of the patron saint St. Sebald. The remains of the Holy Sebald have been around since the 14th century in Nuremberg in a silver shrine. By the end of the 15th century one decided to have prepared a housing made ​​of bronze to showcase the sumptuous shrine in the church. The external structure of the tomb was cast  in bronze during 1508–1519 by Peter Vischer the Elder in collaboration with his sons Peter the Younger and Hermann. The design is generally attributed to the same. Many of the figures that adorn the St. Sebald (including scenes from the Life of St. Sebald, Tritone, satyrs, a Pegasus and the woman looks at itself as a symbol of vanity in the mirror), a direct model in drawings by Jacopo de ‘ Barbari as Paul Johanneis noticed. De Barbari was three years as a royal court painter in Nürnberg. Above all, the symbol of vanity found at the beginning of the 16th Century, making their first appearance in Germany, as quoted in St. Sebald. The St. Sebald tomb is considered as an early example of the reception of forms of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps [1]


The tomb of St. Sebald is supported by twelve snails, all somewhat stylised, with dextral shells (as far as visible), and directed to the right-hand side. I also found close-ups of two of the snails [2], which prove to be slightly different in the shape of their shells.


Copies of this tomb are in London (Victoria and Albert Museum) and Moscow (Puhskin Museum; without snails).

[1] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Sebald_(Nürnberg) (14.ii.2014).
[2] http://bit.ly/1cyoaWa (14.ii.2014).