UNKNOWN MASTER, German
(active 1450-1480 in Cologne)
Sts Cosma, Damian and Pantaleonc. 1455
Oil on panel, 131 x 72 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
In the mid-15th century German painting, marked by the realist trend which had developed from the turn of the century onwards in the work of such artists as Konrad Witz and Stefan Lochner, saw a major evolution which was partly influenced by Flemish painting. This is evident in the present work.
Against a traditional and by now old-fashioned gold background are outlined the figures of the three doctor saints, painted with great precision and in great detail. The artist has thereby clearly endeavoured to individualize each figure's face. The panel also incorporates a wide variety of different objects, connected with the saints' profession, as well as clothes and ornaments, all beautifully painted.
The painting is a good example of the progress of German art towards realism and the representation of three-dimensional form. By using the now standard oil technique, the artist has been able to create volumes and represent the different textures of the objects.