The Frankfurt Altarpiece of the Exaltation of the True Cross:
The Questioning of the Jew (bottom left), Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer
The Frankfurt Altarpiece of the Exaltation of the True Cross: The Questioning of the Jew (bottom left)
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Adam Elsheimer

The Frankfurt Altarpiece of the Exaltation of the True Cross: The Questioning of the Jew (bottom left), 1603 – 1605


Dimensions
15 x 16 x 0.04 cm
Physical Description
Oil on copper
Inventory Number
2142
Acquisition
See separate text for information on purchase and inventory numbers of the panels.
Status
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters, room 10

Texts

About the Work

Only at a second glance can the still life can be recognised as such from the composition of simplified objects with black contours. The artist drew the outlines in charcoal and then filled the spaces with bright complementary colours (red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple). Jawlensky later wrote that he was able to express that which “vibrated” inside him through colours and forms. The influence of the French artist Henri Matisse is reflected in this abstract style and its relinquishing of a spatial perspective.

About the Acquisition

When the Städelsches Kunstinstitut was founded, the Frankfurt artist Adam Elsheimer immediately became the focus of its collecting policy and research interest. Johann Friedrich Städel himself believed he owned a work by the famous Baroque fine artist. Especially after the Second World War, intensive efforts began with regard to the artist, culminating in an Elsheimer exhibition in 1966. In those days, no one could have foreseen that a small miracle would soon take place. Between 1971 and 1981 the Städel was able to reunite the seven-part Altar of the Holy Cross, familiar from archive material, by purchasing the five remaining panels scattered across the world. The Museums-Verein, which had been founded in 1899 and reorganised in 1957, played the main role in financing the purchase with its specific fundraising campaigns.

Audio

  • Basic information
    01:43
  • Focus on Frankfurt
    01:57
  • Focus on material
    01:55
  • Highlights of the Städel Collection
    02:44

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Last update

07.06.2024