(b. ca. 1480, Regensburg, d. 1538, Regensburg)

St Florian Taking Leave of the Monastery

c. 1530
Oil on wood, 81 x 67 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The two panels in the Uffizi (The Departure of St Florian and The Martyrdom of St Florian) make up a series (incomplete) of seven representing the story of St Florian. The other panels are scattered in various museums: 3 in Nuremberg, 1 in Prague, and 1 in Bern. They are not belong to the St Florian Altarpiece executed by Altdorfer for the abbey church in Sankt Florian near Linz, Austria. It is not known whether this altarpiece was also painted for the same church.

Albrecht Altdorfer was a painter who tended to specialize in landscape and architecture to such an extent that these elements, from being simple background decorations, often became the central theme of his paintings. The dramatic and enchanted images that were the hallmark of his style caused him to be considered one of the precursors of Romanticism.

Altdorfer's fantastic, visionary art represented the other side of sixteenth century culture. In his paintings he borrows the extremely vivid colours from dreams, the narration becomes impassioned, and the space-time elements narrow and expand irrationally.

Particularly noteworthy is the crystalline clearness of the colours, especially the whites, which contribute to giving the story and the whole scene a somewhat unreal atmosphere.