(b. ca. 1400, Meersburg am Bodensee, d. 1451, Köln)

Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Cologne

Mixed technique on wood, 260 x 185 cm (central), 261 x 142 cm (wings each)
Cathedral, Cologne

This large retable, painted in the 1440s for the chapel of Cologne town council, unites the patron saints of the city in a magnificent, monumental work from which any trace of historical narrative has been eliminated. The altarpiece was one of the major commissions for the Cathedral ordered by the city council of Cologne.

At the centre the Virgin Mary is enthroned lifesize in a paradisal meadow; the patron saints of the city of Cologne are grouped around her symmetrically. They are saints whose history or relics connected them particularly closely with Cologne, where they were regarded as protectors.

The central panel shows the Magi in adoration. St Ursula stands in the left-hand panel with her virgins and retinue, and the right panel contains St Gereon with his companions. Lochner's art is strongly influenced by Netherlandish painting, particularly that of the van Eyck brothers.