Only recently did it become possible to reunite these two smallformat panels by Albrecht Dürer. Both works were taken to Karnzow Palace, near Berlin, for safekeeping during World War II. Whereas Saint Onuphrius was returned when the war ended, the whereabouts of the Saint John the Baptist panel remained unknown until it was traced to Tallinn in 2003, and returned to Bremen in November of 2004. Around 1500, hermits were particularly revered as holy men because their asceticism was considered pleasing to God. Saint Onuphrius is portrayed on one of the panels. He lived alone in the Thebaid Desert around AD 400, eating only of the fruits of a date palm and a Host brought to him each week by an angel. On the other panel, we see John the Baptist, the last great Old Testament prophet who, as a hermit, prepared himself to ready the people for the Messiah with his sermons and baptisms. The context in which both unfinished panels belong remains unknown even today. Their dimensions, among other things, suggest that they served as the outer wings of a small altarpiece that framed the portrayal of Christ as the Salvator mundi (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).


  • Title: Saint Onuphrius
  • Creator: Albrecht Dürer
  • Date Created: c. 1505
  • Physical Dimensions: 59.0 x 21.7 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on limewood with white ground

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps