WEYDEN, Rogier van der
(b. 1400, Tournai, d. 1464, Bruxelles)
Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (detail)1445-50
Oil on oak panel
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
This detail of the central panel shows the Virgin Mary, St John and the rood screen altar. The rood screen divides the nave from the liturgical choir of a church, to which only the clerics had access. A priest is celebrating mass at the richly furnished altar; he has just raised the host, performing the rite known as the elevation which immediately precedes the consecration, when the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. The retable of the altar here consists of a gilded shrine with carved figures, on which (as very often in the Netherlands) a shrine with the figure of the Virgin and with painted doors is placed.