(b. 1470/80, Würzburg, d. 1528, Halle)

Isenheim Altarpiece (first view)

c. 1515
Oil on wood
Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar

This is the first view of the altarpiece with the wings closed. It is a Crucifixion showing a harrowingly detailed, twisted, and bloody figure of Christ on the cross in the centre flanked, on the left, by the mourning Madonna being comforted by John the Apostle, and Mary Magdalene kneeling with hands clasped in prayer, and, on the right, by a standing John the Baptist pointing to the dying Saviour. At the feet of the Baptist is a lamb holding a cross, symbol of the "Lamb of God" slaughtered for man's sins. The predella represents The Lamentation.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 22 minutes):
Heinrich Schütz: Die sieben Worte am Kreuz SWV 478