Master of the Albrecht Altar

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(fl c. 1430–50). Austrian painter. He is named from an altar dedicated to the Virgin executed for the Carmelite church on the square ‘am Hof’ in Vienna (28 of the 32 panels survive, now at Klosterneuburg, Mus. Chorherrenstifts). The work was once thought to have been commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Albert II as Duke Albert V of Austria (reg 1404–39), but the removal of later paint from the outer wings revealed scenes from the history of the Carmelite Order, together with the coat of arms of Oswald Oberndorffer, a high-ranking finance official and a friend of Albert, who was clearly the real patron. The altarpiece is stylistically dated between 1438 and the early 1440s. The iconographic range of the work is especially remarkable, including scenes of the Carmelite Order on the outside and of the Life of the Virgin on either side of the (lost) shrine. On the Sunday side of the wings two rows of eight panels each have devotional pictures of the Virgin as Queen of Heaven (corresponding to the Litany of Our Lady). The stereotype arrangement of the Mother of God (always presented frontally) among the heavenly host gives a uniform effect.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.