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Altdorfer, Albrecht: The Legend of St. Sebastian and the Passion of Christ


Panels from the retable in the monastery of St. Florian in Enns (Linz), Austria. The great Augustinian abbey of St. Florian provided the wealthy and culturally sophisticated milieu for the creation of Altdorfer's high altar, his masterpiece. Now dismantled, most parts are at either St. Florian or Vienna.

Two panels of the predella (base) of Altdorfer's large Altarpiece of The Legend of St. Sebastian and the Passion of Christ, one of the major works of the Danube school, are displayed in Vienna. The altarpiece was painted for the monastery of St. Florian in Upper Austria in 1518. The two panels in Vienna depict the final scenes of Christ's Passion: the Burial and the Resurrection. Both paintings share a similar formal structure: an open landscape is seen beyond and through the opening of a dark grotto. Altdorfer's conception of the Resurrection is arresting in its night-time setting. A light with the quality of a supernatural fire emanates from the body of Christ and illuminates the sombre clouds in the sky. This glistening light casts a red and yellow glow that colours the soldiers clustered, dazed and sleeping around Christ's tomb.

Image Resurrection of Christ
1518; Wood, 70 x 37 cm; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Image Entombment
1518; Oil on wood, 70.5 x 37.3 cm; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Image The Agony in the Garden
c.1515; Oil on wood; Abbey Museum, St. Florian, Germany

Image The Flagellation of Christ
1518; Oil on wood; Abbey Museum, St. Florian


14 Oct 2002, Nicolas Pioch - Top - Up - Info
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