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The Master of Okolično is named after the former main altar to the Virgin Mary in the Franciscan monastery in Okolično, near Liptovski Mikulaš in Slovakia. The painter was active in the transitional period between the late Gothic and Renaissance styles. He is distinguished by clear and strict composition, full figures supported by precise drawing, an individuality of faces and the decorative harmony of the whole. The subject of Christ’s extended family is based on the apocryphal medieval tradition, according to which the Virgin Mary’s mother Anne is said to have been married three times and given birth to three daughters, all called Mary. The central figures of this panel painting of the Holy Kinship are St Anne and the Virgin Mary, with Jesus in her arms. Beside then are pictured St Anne’s other two daughters, Mary Cleophas and Mary Salome, surrounded by their children. In the background, around their two husbands, are gathered twenty-five characters representing other male and female relatives. Their names are written in gothic print on inscriptional bands. The background is ornamented with a grape-laden vine. The portrayal of this large family is thematically bound to the date of its origin, since family bonds played an important role in late medieval society. The dress and headware of the painted figures are also contemporary, typical of circa 1500. The solemnity and tranquillity of the adults is countered by the children. They are handing fruit, some of which they scatter on the ground, and one of them is riding a hobbyhorse. The infant St John the Evangelist is learning to walk with the aid of a ‘walker’, giving the scene an affectionate genre touch.

Details

  • Title: Holy Kinship
  • Creator: Master of Okolično
  • Date: 1510
  • Date Created: 1510
  • Location Created: Slovakia
  • Physical Dimensions: 150 x 121 cm
  • Provenance: From the Castle Murska Sobota, bought 1931
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Tempera on wood

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