The St Margaret Altarpiece thumbnail 1
The St Margaret Altarpiece thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50b, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery

The St Margaret Altarpiece

Altarpiece
ca. 1520 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This altarpiece depicting the Life of St Margaret was made in North Germany, probably in Hamburg or Lüneburg in about 1520. It was probably made for the church of St John in Lüneburg which housed in pre-Reformation time forty altarpieces. It depicts the Life of St Margaret from Antioch, the patroness of childbirth and is one of the fourteen Holy Helpers..


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleSt. Margareth and scenes from her legend (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Oak, carved in high relief, painted and gilded
Brief Description
Winged altarpiece, Scenes from the Life of St Margaret, carved, painted and gilded oak, North Germany (Lüneburg or Hamburg?), ca. 1520
Physical Description
St. Margaret and scenes from her legend. Left wing: (1) St. Margaret given to the nurse by her father Theodosius (2) St. Margaret keeping sheep (3) St. Margaret testifying before Olybrius.

Centre wing: (5) St. Margaret sentenced (6) St. Margaret led away to prison (7) St. Margaret put into prison (8) St. Margaret tempted by the devil in the form of a man (9) St. Margaret tortured with iron combs (10) St. Margaret scourged (11) St. Margaret overcoming the dragon (12) St. Margaret boiled in a vessel of pitch

Right wing: (13) an angel ministering to St. Margaret in prison (14) Olybrius and his followers on horseback (15) the executioner Malchus praying to St. Margaret (16) St. Margaret beheaded. On the back of the wings are painted the Virgin and Child and St Margaret, St. Catherine and St. Barbara
Dimensions
  • Width: 242cm
  • Central panel height: 208.9cm
  • Central panel width: 213cm
  • Right wing height: 207.3cm
  • Right wing, bottom width: 94.3cm
  • Left wing height: 209.6cm
  • Bottom width: 94.6cm
  • Fully open width: 424.8cm
  • Panels on reverse height: 196.5cm
  • Panels on reverse width: 94cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Subjects depicted
Summary
This altarpiece depicting the Life of St Margaret was made in North Germany, probably in Hamburg or Lüneburg in about 1520. It was probably made for the church of St John in Lüneburg which housed in pre-Reformation time forty altarpieces. It depicts the Life of St Margaret from Antioch, the patroness of childbirth and is one of the fourteen Holy Helpers..
Bibliographic References
  • Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1859. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 49
  • Maskell, A. Wood Sculpture, London, 1911, pp 136, 137
  • Habicht, Niedersächsische Kunst in England. Hanover, 1930, pp. 98-99
  • Busch, Harald. Meister Walter und sein Kreis. Strassburg, 1931, pp. 146-148
  • von der Osten. Niedersächsische Bildschnitzerei des späten Mittelalters. Berlin, 1940, p.11
  • Gmelin, H. G. Spätgotische Tafelmalerei in Niedersachsen und Bremen. Berlin, 1974, pp. 181-183
  • Kauffmann, C. M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, Vol. I, no. 140
Collection
Accession Number
5894-1859

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record createdFebruary 16, 2004
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