Master of the Schwabacher Crispinus Altar
St. Sebastian, St. Martin and St. Rochus
51.00x73.50cm, oil on panel
The Master of the Schwabacher Crispinus Altar is the notional name given to an anonymous Early Netherlandish painter active in southern Germany in the first half of the 16th century. He is named after his altarpiece depicting the martyrdom of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, which is now in the parish church of Schwabach (Middle Franconia, Germany).
The Master of the Schwabacher Crispinus Altar’s work is significant for its contribution to the development of Early Netherlandish painting and he is considered one of the most important painters of the Danube School. His detailed and realistic style helped to pave the way for the later work of painters such as Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The Master of the Schwabacher Crispinus Altar’s work is also significant for its religious content. His paintings often depict scenes from the Bible or the lives of saints. This reflects the importance of religion in the lives of people in the 16th century.
The master of the Schwabacher Crispinus altar is a painter whose name of convenience derives from a triptych at the parish church of Schwabach (Middle Franconia, Germany). The painted side panels of the altar show two martyrs with their attributes, the shoemaker’s tools. There are clear stylistic analogies between the saints depicted in the panels here and the two of the Schwabacher Crispinus, although our panel painting is an earlier work by the master. The depiction of Saint Martin follows a copper engraving by Martin Schongauer (B. 57), but the figure of Saint Sebastian also shows a noticeable reference to Schongauer’s copper engraving (B. 60). In original frame, polychromy of later date. (†)
Lempertz, Cologne, 19 Novembre 1981, Lot nr. 231 (Schwäbisch-Bayerischer Meister um 1500);
Private collection, Zurich, Switzerland