DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

The Adoration of the Trinity

Oil on lindenwood, 135 x 123,4 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Dürer created his single panel altarpiece showing the Adoration of the Trinity, a celestial vision which forms an iconographical whole with the picture frame, for the wealthy merchant Matthäus Landauer. The Trinity is depicted with Christ on the Cross being supported by angels, the focal point of the heavenly gathering of saints. The crowd of martyrs on the left is led by Mary, and the group of Old Testament prophets and kings on the right by St John the Baptist. Clergymen and laypersons following the heads of the State and Church form the lowest horizontal zone in heaven. The artist depicts himself in the earthly zone in the manner of a secondary portrait. The client is the only layperson portrayed in the group of clergymen on the left, and he is being received into the heavenly community by a cardinal. Dürer prepared this detail in a portrait study.

Matthäus Landauer had gained his wealth by trading in ore, and in 1501 had founded a home for twelve old craftsmen who had fallen on hard times, to which Chapel of All Saints was attached. In addition to the portrait of the donor, there is a second one in the picture, that of his son-in-law Wilhelm Haller.