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Master of the Nieder-Erlenbach Altar attr.
Probably Middle Rhine late
Two counterparts. Exteriors of two altar wings, representing the Annunciation.
Oil on panel, margins attached as well as embedded in another, modern panel. Unsigned. Verso inscribed «Tafel 1 (panel 1)» respectively «Tafel 2 (panel 2)» and «Rückseite (back)» as well as on an embossed label of the studio for painting restoration G. Kreuter, Basel, handwritten inscribed «Oktober 1966 (october 1966)».
Spread over two panels lies an interior with red and white floor tiles, a surrounding wooden bench and a plain beamed ceiling. Through windowless openings in the walls, the view opens onto rolling green hills, a fortified city and bizarre, craggy rock formations. On the right panel, the Virgin Mary kneels at a prayer desk. Almost ecstatically enraptured and wrapped in a white cloak, she meets the Archangel Gabriel on the left panel, who, raising his hand in a gesture of blessing, announces to her the message of conception. In front of the angel, there is a bundle of lilies symbolising virginal purity on the floor in a blue and white vase.
The Annunciation is, so to speak, the nucleus of the Christian promise of salvation. The Son of the Virgin will sacrifice himself for the sins of humanity and thus overcome death. Due to the central importance of this episode of salvation history, it has been repeated countless times and plays a fundamental role in the pictorial transmission of the Christian faith. It is usually integrated into larger contexts and is depicted together with other scenes from the Gospels. Thus, one could assume that the present panels are the outer sides of a folding winged altarpiece.
Verbal attribution: Dr. Bodo Brinkmann and Gabriel Dette, Kunstmuseum Basel, 09.02.2018.
Statement: Dr. Eva Maria Breisig, Städtische Museen,