MASTER of Hohenfurth
(active 1350-70 in Prague)


c. 1350
Tempera on canvas-covered panel, 95 x 85 cm
Národní Galerie, Prague

During the reign of Charles IV (1346-78) Bohemia experienced a political and cultural revival. The Prague workshops were dominated by two exceptional figures, the Master of Hohenfurth (Vissy Brod) and Master Theoderic. The Nativity by the Master of Hohenfurth is a panel painting from the abbey church of Hohenfurth. It has a number of stylistic similarities with Master Bertram's panels, in particular the stylized hills, miniature trees, and the plants set individually on mounds of earth.

The hill formations, with their zig-zag pattern of trenches, derive from Giotto and Duccio. It is clear that the Master of Hohenfurth reworked themes from Giotto's Nativity in the Arena Chapel in Padua, an indication of the cultural network which linked the court in Prague with other European countries.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 12 minutes):
Gregorian chants