UNKNOWN MASTER, German
(active c. 1490 in Algäu region)

House Altarpiece (open)

c. 1490
Oil and gold on linden panel, metal fixtures, 34 x 30 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This small house altarpiece consists of a predella, a central shrine, and a superstructure.The nonfigurative surfaces are all painted a deep dull red. Depicted on the predella is Veronica's kerchief, or sudarium, with which she wiped the face of Christ as he carried the Cross, whereupon the cloth miraculously took on the image of his face.

Within the central shrine are sculptures in nearly full relief representing St Anne holding the diminutive Virgin in her left arm and in her right the naked Christ Child. Flanking the holy group are a kneeling female and male figure on the left and right, respectively.

The shrine is flanked by two painted wings on metal hinges. When the altarpiece is open, St Catherine on the left wing and St Barbara on the right wing are visible with their respective attributes.

This private devotional shrine replicates in miniature the soaring Gothic carved altarpiece that especially flourished across southern Germany and the Tirol in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century.

The style of the painted figures generally can be located in the Algäu-Boxdensee region of Swabia, which extended roughly from Augsburg to Konstanz.




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