MASTER of the Life of the Virgin
(active 1463-1480 in Cologne)


Wood, 85 x 109 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

The Master of the Life of the Virgin executed a large altarpiece with eighteen panels illustrating the life of the Virgin commissioned by Doctor Johann Schwartz-Hirtz for the Church of St Ursula in Cologne in 1463. The Visitation, one of the panels of the altarpiece, typifies his style with the tall, stately figures of Mary, Elizabeth, and a maid placed sedately in a broad landscape. The donor kneels in the lower left corner with his elaborate coat of arms. The composition resembles that of Rogier van der Weyden's Visitation with the landscape and figures stretched out from a vertical to a horizontal format, but the gold sky and the flying blue angels remind us the Cologne precursors of the master.