Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grünewald, Matthias

Concert of Angels and Nativity
(Second view of the Isenheim Altarpiece)
Oil on wood
265 x 304 cm
Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar

Matthias Grünewald (c.1470 - 1528) was a major figure in a generation of great northern German Renaissance painters that also included Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Albrecht Altdorfer.
Grünewald remained relatively unknown until the 20th century. His present worldwide reputation, however, is based chiefly on his greatest masterpiece, the Isenheim Altarpiece , which was long believed to have been painted by Dürer. It is a strange and puzzling fact that the only German painter who can be compared with Dürer for greatness and artistic power has been forgotten to such an extent that we are not even quite sure of his name. Many of his paintings had been attributed to Albrecht Dürer and Grünewald's reputation was obscured until the 20th century. Albrecht Dürer is now seen as Grünewald's stylistic antithesis.

Only ten paintings, several consisting of many panels, and thirty-five drawings survive, all religious, although many others were lost at sea in the Baltic on their way to Sweden as war booty.
Grünewald's largest and most famous work is the Isenheim Altarpiece created between 1506-1515.
Above is the second view of the Isenheim Altarpiece.