Master of the Stauffenberg Altar

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(fl mid-15th century). German painter. He is named after the Stauffenberg Triptych (Colmar, Mus. Unterlinden). When open, this shows a Pietà (1.27x0.97 m), flanked by scenes of the Annunciation and the Nativity (both 1.27x0.42 m), and when closed the Crucifixion, with donors who can be identified from their coats of arms as Hans Erhard Bock of Stauffenberg, Bailiff of Rouffach (nr Colmar), and his wife, Aennelin of Oberkirch. The year of their marriage, 1454, and that of 1460, when Aennelin is mentioned as a widow, help to date the work. Sterling (1980), however, dated the main Pietà panel slightly earlier than the wings. The Pietà panel shows the influence of Rogier van der Weyden and is distinguished by its imposing grandeur. The triptych also shows traces of the so-called International Gothic style and a tendency towards lyricism that is peculiar to Colmar. These features suggest that the Master was active in Alsace in the mid-15th century, after Konrad Witz but just before Martin Schongauer, at the time when Netherlandish influence was penetrating the Upper Rhine. Bauch thought that the Master should be identified with the young Schongauer, but Stange considered that he was an independent painter and attributed to him the Bergheim Predella, which depicts St John the Baptist Preaching and St George and the Dragon (tempera on pine; Colmar, Mus. Unterlinden). He also regarded him as a formative influence on the Housebook Master. Sterling (1979–82) has since, however, defined his role more clearly and has placed his activity in the artistic milieu of Hans Hirtz, Jost Haller (to whom he attributed the Bergheim predella), Caspar Isenmann and the Master of the Man of Sorrows (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.), which was important for Schongauer's early development.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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