MASTER OF THE MUNICH SAINT JOHN ON PATMOS
Lamentation (137 x 102 mm.)
Germany, Passau (?), c. 1525-1530
In spite of the essential role played by great German artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Albrecht Altdorfer, Wolf Huber, and Hans Baldung Grien as illuminators, sixteenth-century Germany has unfortunately left us few illuminations of high quality. This superb painting on parchment, with two sister leaves (the Pentecost and the Entombment, Private Collection) perhaps from a Prayerbook, are most likely by the hand of a virtuoso painter of the Danube School, the Master of the Munich Saint John on Patmos, whose style was profoundly inspired by that of Altdorfer. The master places his precious figures in grandiose landscapes saturated with intense colors and illuminated with liquid gold. These important miniatures confirm that our artist, primarily known through a small group of paintings, was indeed active as an illuminator. These small parchment paintings are inspired by woodcuts attributed to the Master IS of the Shovel, a disciple of Hans Schäufelein of Augsburg, who must have influenced the refined art of the Master of the Munich Saint John on Patmos (compare this particular composition to Bartsch1156).