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Lyversberg Passion

(c. 1460—1480)


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Master of the (fl Cologne, c. 1460–c. 1480). German painter. He is named from two panels showing eight scenes of the Passion (?1464; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus.) that entered the collection of the Cologne merchant Jakob Johann Lyversberg (d 1834) around 1800. It is thought that they were originally the inner sides of the wings of a large carved altarpiece donated in 1464 to the Carthusian church in Cologne by the merchant and city councillor Johann Rinck (d 1466) and his son Peter (d 1501). The paintings on the outer sides of the wings show the Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi (Nuremberg, Ger. Nmus.). The motifs, sprightly narrative style, richly contrasting colours and crowded profusion of figures in conventional compositional arrangements suggest that the Master was linked to earlier Cologne painting in the tradition of Stefan Lochner. Not only the depiction of the details of fabrics but also individual picture formulae indicate contact with contemporary Flemish works then to be seen in Cologne churches, such as Rogier van der Weyden's St Columba altarpiece (1450s; ex-Cologne, St Kolumba; Munich, Alte Pin.) and above all works from the circle of Dieric Bouts I. These influences are clearly seen in early works attributed to the Master, for example the altarpiece of the Virgin (1463; Linz am Rhein, Pfarrkirche). A miniature on parchment depicting the Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John (before c. 1461; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus.) verifies that early in his career, at least, he had worked as a manuscript illuminator. His gift for exact observation fitted him for some of the earliest portrait work in Cologne. His last preserved work is the asymmetrical panel of the Crucifixion with the Virgin and SS John and Mary Magdalene (c. 1475; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus.), formerly regarded as a work of the Master of the Life of the Virgin; now it is thought to show the definite influence of that more important artist on the Master of the Lyversberg Passion.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.



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