Left Wing of the Hohenburg Altarpiece

Hans Holbein st.

Hans Holbein st. - Left Wing of the Hohenburg Altarpiece
When executing his panels painted on both sides, Hans Holbein opted for the grisaille technique – the painting is carried out in a range of shades of grey. This procedure was most probably chosen by the donors, or rather, donoresses - a lot of evidence is pointing to a commission placed by the female Augustinians for their convent called St Ottilia´s Mount in Hohenburg, Lower Alsace. This hypothesis is supported in the representation of Ottilia in the right wing: the saint is helping the carpenter to lengthen the shaft; right of this scene the same figure is praying to free the soul of her father from the Purgatory. The convent called Mount of St Ottilia was established by the saint herself. The painter, who came from Augsburg, stayed in Alsace in 1509; this is in accordance with the fact that the panels were designed for Hohenburg. The other painting captures the scene of the Death of the Virgin Mary - Holbein maintained the traditional mediaeval concept - the Virgin is dying surrounded by the apostles, saying her last prayer. Both the paintings formed the wings of a former altar extension, but no records exist of the appearance of its centre part.
measurements: height 135 cm
width 79 cm
material: wood
technique: tempera
inventory number: O 40
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters
from cycle: The Hohenburg Altarpiece

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