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Annunciation altarpiece from the Church of St. John the Baptist in Kisszeben (today Sabinov, Slovakia), detail

Date 1510-1520
Object type winged altar
Medium, technique pine-wood, lindenwood, painted, gilded
Dimensions

223 × 269 cm

Inventory number 52.576.1.4-8.15-18
Collection Old Hungarian Collection
On view This artwork can be displayed at the permanent exhibition

The richly gilded inner part of the altarpiece was decorated with carved figures whose style belongs to the circle of Master Paul, the maker of the high altar in Saint James’ church in Lőcse (today Levoča, Slovakia), who was employed widely in the whole of Northeastern Hungary in the early 16th century. The closest to our altar in style is the high altar of Saint Martin’s church in Héthárs (today Lipany, Slovakia), bearing the date 1526. It is still debated, whether these works are to be attributed to an independent workshop or to the late period of Master Paul.
Above the kneeling archangel Gabriel and Mary, God appears, hovering in the clouds, accompanied by angels playing music. The scene is framed by a lush, gilt foliage motif forming trefoil at the top. On the altar wings, the popular virgin saints, Dorothy, Barbara, Catherine and Margaret are depicted, while the predella contains a depiction of the Adoration of the Magi. The eight scenes visible when the altar wings are closed represent events of the Virgin’s life from the Visitation to the Assumption in compositions that faithfully adapt to Dürer’s woodcut series.

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