The Visitation, from Selmecbánya

Master MS1506

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery
Budapest, Hungary

This is probably the best known pane painting from medieval Hungary. The two female saints are stand in the foreground of a wide open landscape. The representation does not adhere closely to the text of the Gospel: it is not Zacharias’ house where the Virgin, pregnant with Jesus, meets Elizabeth who is expecting Saint John the Baptist, but in the open where all the elements of Nature glorify the Lord, following the words of the Magnificat. The idyll is, however, illusory: the barren rocks, the trees with twisted trunks are subtle references to the passion, while the flower and fruit in the foreground are symbols directly referring to it. The parts of the large winged altarpiece which this painting once belonged to are all scattered. Four scenes of the Passion- the Mount of Olives, Christ Carrying the Cross, the Crucifixion and the Ressurection- are in the Christian Museum in Esztergom; these scenes give out the entire lower row of pictures on the closed altarpiece. The Nativity of the upper row is in the parish church of Hontszentantal (Svaty Antol, Slovakia), the Adoration of the Magi is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille. The whereabouts of the Annunciation is unknown. The badly worn signature of the master- M and S wit a master sign between them- as well as the year 1506 are visible on the rim of Christ’s sepulchre in the Ressurection scene. Miklos Mojzer has identified the artist as Marten Schwarcz, the painter of Veit Stoss’ high altar in Cracow.

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  • Title: The Visitation, from Selmecbánya
  • Date Created: 1506
  • size: 140 x 94.5 cm
  • Technique: Tempera on panel, gilding,
  • Painter: Master MS, Marten Schwartz
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Hungarian National Gallery, Hungarian National Gallery
  • External Link: Hungarian National Gallery

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