These two panels once formed a panel of a Maryan altarpiece. They were separated by sawing down the full length of the thick panel. However, this was only carried out after another piece of the panel had been sawn off. The missing piece is now in Schloß Harburg and luckily it has not split, like the Maastricht fragments. On the front of the smaller fragment is the Adoration of the Christ Child. This scene links up with the Annunciation to the shepherds and Adoration of the shepherds in Maastricht, where part of the Virgin’s cloak and halo can still be seen, on the right-hand side. The right-hand panel of this Maryan altarpiece is also still in existence, still complete and now in the Staatsgalerie Burghausen, in Bavaria. On the front of that panel the Adoration of the Magi is depicted, as well as the painter’s monogram and the year 1531. When the altarpiece in its original, complete state, was closed, the Deathbed of Mary formed a comprehensible whole with the Ascension on the right-hand panel.

Mary is lying on a wooden bed covered with a blanket with decorative brocade. She is surrounded by the apostles. Next to her in the red cloak, St John is pressing into her hands the candle that represents the light of faith, and St Peter in the red priest’s cloak is sprinkling her with holy water and thus administering the last rites. In front of Mary, an apostle seated on a bench is reading from the Bible


  • Title: The deathbed of Mary
  • Creator: Melchior Feselen
  • Date: 1531
  • Physical Dimensions: 96,5 x 79 x 3 cm
  • Provenance: Loan Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. © Peter Cox/Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
  • Medium: oil on panel

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