The Wings of the Altenberg Altarpiece, Rhenish Master ca. 1330
Rhenish Master ca. 1330
The Wings of the Altenberg Altarpiece
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Kölner Meister: Madonna mit Kind, um 1320-1330, Mischtechnik auf Holz, 132 x 60 cm, Leihgabe aus Privatbesitz im Bayerischen Nationalmuseum, München, seit 2015 als Leihgabe im Städel Museum

Rhenish Master ca. 1330

The Wings of the Altenberg Altarpiece, ca. 1330

153.7 x 243.8 x 6.3 cm
Physical Description
Mixed technique on fir
Inventory Number
SG 358-361
Acquired in 1925
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters


About the Work

The wings of the retable from Altenberg, near Wetzlar, flanked a section featuring at its centre a sculpture of the Madonna, the convent’s main patron saint. It is to her that the Three Wise Men on the left wing are kneeling in adoration. The scenes from the life of the Virgin are joined by depictions of the archangel Michael and St Elizabeth of Thuringia, whose daughter Gertrude was the abbess at Altenberg for many years. The elegant two-dimensionality of the robed figures with their slender limbs is typical of the early fourteenth-century High Gothic style.


  • 01:30
    Basic information
  • 02:13
    Focus on art history
  • 01:55
    Focus on religion

Work Data

Basic Information

The Wings of the Altenberg Altarpiece
Panel interior
Annunciation and Nativity
Visitation and Adoration of the Magi
Saints Michael and Elizabeth of Hungary
Coronation and Death of the Virgin
Shrine of the Altenberg Altar
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Mixed technique on fir
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Gabriels Spruchband in der Verkündigungsdarstellung: AVE + MARIA + GRACIA + PLENA+ D[OMI]N[U]S + TECU[M] (Lk 1,28, "Gegrüßet seist du, Maria, voll der Gnade, Der Herr ist mit Dir!")
Spruchband der Heimsuchungsdarstellung: EXQ[U]o + F[A]C[T]A + E[ST] + S[A]L[UT]AC[I]O + EX[U]LTAV[IT] + I[N]FA[N]S + I[N]UT[ER]O+ MEO (Lk 1,44, "In dem Augenblick, als ich Deinen Gruß hörte, hüpfte das Kind vor Freude in meinem Leib.")

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
CC BY-SA 4.0 Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Acquired in 1925

Work Content


  • 73A521 the Annunciation: Mary standing
  • 11G1921 angel(s) with book(-scroll) or banderole
  • 73B131 Mary reclining in bed or on a couch, looking at the Christ-child
  • 73A622 Mary and Elisabeth, both pregnant, embracing
  • 73B57 adoration of the kings: the Wise Men present their gifts to the Christ-child (gold, frankincense and myrrh)
  • 11G31 the Archangel Michael fighting the dragon (devil, Satan)
  • 11HH(ELISABETH OF HUNGARY)5 miraculous activities and events ~ St. Elisabeth of Hungary
  • 73E792 coronation of Mary by Christ
  • 73E741 Christ appears and takes Mary's soul ('assumptio animae')
  • 73B281 the ox and the ass at the manger ~ Christ's birth
  • 11G21 angels singing, making music

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