MASTER of the Tegernsee Passion
(active 1430-1450 in Germany)


German painter. He is named after the main altarpiece (1444-45) at the former Benedictine monastery of St Quirinus at Tegernsee. Since the altarpiece was documented as the tabula magna, he is also called the Master of the Tegernsee Tabula Magna. He was thought to be the Munich painter Gabriel Mälesskircher until it was demonstrated that he belonged to a generation preceding that of Mälesskircher, whose 13 altarpieces for the Tegernsee Monastery were painted from 1474. Recently discovered archival evidence points to the Munich painter Gabriel Angler the Elder (c. 1405-1462) as the artist in question.

The centre of the now dismembered tabula magna consisted of two oblong panels set one above the other, the Crucifixion (Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum) above Christ Carrying the Cross (Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). Four other Passion scenes appeared on the interior of the flanking wings, and four scenes from the Life of St Quirinus were seen when the wings were closed. The unidealized, rude and bulky figures reveal the Master to have been an unrestrained and highly expressive exponent of a particular kind of realism, also associated with the Master of the Tucher Altar and with Hans Multscher. In the late 17th century the backgrounds of the principal panels were repainted with dark and stormy skies, which produces an effect not altogether out of keeping with the original emotional tenor. In another large Crucifixion from Tegernsee (1439-40; Munich, Alte Pinakothek) he painted the scene in grisaille with an elaborate architectural frame, as if the painting were a stone retable.