Isenheim Altarpiece

About Matthias Grünewald

Matthias Grünewald (originally named Mathis Gohardt) is widely acclaimed as the greatest German Renaissance artist, whose religious paintings and drawings are known for their visionary expressiveness of intense color and agitated line. His most famous work is the Isenheim Altarpiece (1506-1515), a polyptych that decorated the hospital chapel of the Isenheim monastery near Colmar, Alsace, now in France. In the central panel, the crucified body of Christ is pitted with black sores that would have resembled those on the plague victims who visited the monastery in hope of a cure. Although only ten or so paintings survive, Grünewald’s art has had a lasting influence, inspiring artists from Albrecht Dürer to Jasper Johns, who traced the Isenheim Altarpiece onto his own work.

German, 1475-1528, Wurzburg, Germany

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