About this artwork
In this triptych, the Virgin, crowned as the queen of heaven, is surrounded by virgin saints in a garden that evokes paradise. Singled out on the left wing is Saint Ursula, thought to have been a British princess who set out on a pilgrimage to Rome, only to be martyred along with a throng of her virgin companions. Saint Agnes, another martyr of the early Christian era, is on the right wing. The triptych’s focus on youthful, female saints and its lyrical, slightly naive painting style suggest that it was made for a community of nuns. The gold framing arches refer to the combination of gilded sculpture and painting that was a common feature of German altarpieces in this period.
- Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints
- Oil and tempera on panel
- Inscribed: Center panel: ·SCA·CECILIA, ·SA·AGATHA, ·SA· MARGARE-TA, ·SCA·LVCIA, ·SA·BARBARA, ·S·APPOLONIA [sic] (on ha-los from left to right), HR· (on Saint Barbara’s belt), ihs (on Saint Apollonia’s bodice); left wing: ·SA·VRSVLA (on halo), GGGGG (on belt of virgin at lower left), GHOV[O] (on hemline of virgin at lower right), Crucifige (exterior, twice on banderoles); right wing: SA·AGNETIS (on halo), Innocens ego / sum a sanguin[e] / iusn huius (exterior, on banderole)
- Center: 54 7/8 × 40 11/16 in. (139.5 × 103.3 cm) Painted surface: 53 15/16 × 39 3/4 in. (137 × 101 cm) Left wing, painted surface: 54 1/16 × 16 5/8 in. (137.5 × 41.9 cm) Right wing, painted surface: 53 15/16 × 16 3/8 in. (137 × 41.6 cm)
- Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection