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Matthias Grunewald, a German by birth, the last representative of northern Gothic painting, who created several masterpieces in his short life (perhaps there were much more paintings, but very few have survived to this day), he rightly considered the Isengheim Altar to be his main work.
The work was ordered by the monks from the poorest order, whose main activity was the healing of sick people. This masterpiece was written, presumably, at the beginning of the 16th century.
In the very center of the composition we see the crucified Jesus Christ, through whose body blood flows. In Christ himself there are, in principle, no deviations from the canons, with the exception, perhaps, of hands with fingers so wide spread that it is impossible not to be horrified by the torment and torment of the Lord.
In addition to Jesus, the center depicts the Mother of Christ in a white robe, falling without feelings from her son’s suffering. She is supported by the beloved apostle of Christ John, who pours all sorrow on the Mother of God (he alone does not look at the crucified). Also on her knees, raising her hands, Mary Magdalene prays. On the other side of Jesus stands John the Baptist.
At the time of the assassination of Christ, John was already beheaded, but in the picture he is depicted alive. Thus, the artist shows that John is still the predecessor of Christ, the shepherd, who brought the “sheep” people to faith (as evidenced by the lamb standing next to the Baptist, holding a small cross).
The same characters, with the exception of John the Baptist, are depicted on the lower sash, showing the mourning of the beloved Lord and laying him in a coffin.
On the sides of the central stage we see Saints Anthony and Sebastian. The first was the patron saint of the order, who ordered the Grunevalda altar. The second was the patron saint of doctors, and since the monks were engaged in healing, Saint Sebastian was their patron saint.
Anthony stands in red-blue robes, holds a staff testifying to power, and looks into the distance, not paying any attention to the little devil near the window trying to tempt the saint.
Sebastian, a former martyr for faith, besides other bullying, was ruthlessly pierced by arrows. It is pierced and depicted on this masterpiece.
Masaccio Miracle With Statier