MASTER of Saint Veronica
(active 1400-1420 in Cologne)
Triptych (closed)c. 1410
Panel, 70 x 16 cm (each wing)
Heinz Kisters Collection, Kreuzlingen
It is unusual for the decoration on the backs of the wings to play an important thematic role in the visual programme of a triptych like this, but it does so in this case. When the triptych is closed one is presented with a moving depiction of Christ carrying the Cross, painted on a layer of red which was usually the support for gold leaf. Here the central motif has been isolated from the theme of the Carrying the Cross, which was of crucial importance for Late Medieval devotion. Having been isolated from the narrative, the image of the cross-bearing Christ acquires a validity unconnected with time or place.