MASTER of the Votive Panel of Sankt Lambrecht
(active around 1430 in Austria)

Nativity (recto)

c. 1430
Oil and gold on panel, 82 x 67 cm
Private collection

This Nativity scene is an outstanding example of the full flowering of the International Gothic style in Austria in the fifteenth century. It was painted almost certainly in Vienna, where a strong and distinct iconographic tradition for this subject seems to have grown up in the second quarter of the century. This panel would probably have originally formed part of a large-scale altar or retable. The reverse of the panel showing Christ in the Garden of Gethesemane indicates that this altar was likely to have had scenes from the Passion of Christ on the outer sides of its panels, while those such as this painted with the more precious and visually arresting gold grounds (visible only when opened on feast days) would have formed a cycle dedicated to the Life of the Virgin on the inner sides.

This panel was linked to the Saint Lambrecht Votive altarpiece, a remarkable Gothic panel depicting the victory of the Hungarians over the Turks in the presence of the Virgin. The present picture has many points in common with other accepted works by the Master of the St Lambrecht Votive Altar, and it seems reasonable to assume that they come from the same workshop.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.