Altar of the Paumgartners by Albrecht Durer

Altar of the Paumgartners by Albrecht Durer

The triptych “Paumgartner’s Altar” was written by the Patrician family of Paumgartners for one of the churches in Nuremberg. On the central part of it is depicted “Christmas”.

The composition fancifully combines features of medieval views with the new Renaissance principles of building space. Thus, according to medieval iconographic schemes, the artist depicted the small figures of the family of the customers of the altar, incommensurable in scale with the main characters of the picture.

The scene takes place in the ruins of a majestic old building, the prospect of which is solved in strict accordance with its scientific laws. The saturated colors of the garments of the main figures, as well as the light colors of the landscape in depth, attest to the specific impact of the works of the Italian masters, whom Durer met on his first trip to Italy.

“Christmas” is the central part of the altar. The colors are bright and festive. The contrast of the red garment of Joseph and the blue garment of Mary is vivid. Beautiful fantastic ruins. On both sides of St. families – the tiny figures of the family of customers – a group portrait of a family of noble Nuremberg people in smart suits. At the request of customers written their emblems.

The picture is very skilful. Lovingly moved by the trembling foliage, it seems that the branches of the bushes with which the stone ruins have grown are bent by the wind, the folds of fabrics are gently falling, the skins are shiny and the huge eyes of cows are shining. On the side flaps of the altar, like the two guards, are the st. Eustace and St. George. They rely on the banners of the banners. Their armor sparkles. These are not only images of saints, they are portraits of customers – Stefan and Luke Paumgartner.

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