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|Painting, Oil on panel, 182x94.5 cm|
|Origin: Germany, Second half of the 15th century|
The author of this work was probably the Swabian artist Friedrich Herlin, who was much influenced by Netherlandish art. With the Adoration and the Flight into Egypt on one side, the painting once formed part of a large altar devoted to the life of the Virgin Mary - probably showing the Seven Joys and the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin - but all the other parts have been lost. The ruins with their elements of Classical architecture indicate the stable where Christ was born and at the same time symbolise the fall of paganism. Joseph, holding a candle in his hand, seems to be fulfilling the role of the protector of the Child. The stable roof is supported by the column on which, according to legend, the Virgin Mary leant during the miraculous birth. With its gold background, haloes and naivety in the construction of space, this painting is a clear reminder of how long Gothic traditions continued in German 15th-century art. On the back of the panel we see Saint Lawrence with a brazier, Saint Agnes with a candle and Mary Magdalene with a vessel and comb.
|Personage: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St Joseph|
|Source of entry: 1923|
|Theme: The Bible and Christianity|
|Exibition: German Art: 15th - 18th centuries|
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