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Pacher, Saint Wolfgang Altarpiece, c. 1479-8 Smarthistory on Dec 30, 2012 Michael Pacher, St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, c. 1479-81 (Church of St. Wolfgang, St. Wolfgang, Austria)More
Pacher, Saint Wolfgang Altarpiece, c. 1479-8

Smarthistory on Dec 30, 2012 Michael Pacher, St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, c. 1479-81 (Church of St. Wolfgang, St. Wolfgang, Austria)
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St. Wolfgang Altarpiece

Coronation of the Virgin Mary, centerpiece of the altar
His most famous work, the St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, remains in its original location and setting in St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut on the Abersee (the western end of lake Wolfgangsee) in Austria. The altarpiece is a polyptych, or Wandelaltar, where a painting is divided into four or more segments or panels. There …More
St. Wolfgang Altarpiece

Coronation of the Virgin Mary, centerpiece of the altar
His most famous work, the St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, remains in its original location and setting in St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut on the Abersee (the western end of lake Wolfgangsee) in Austria. The altarpiece is a polyptych, or Wandelaltar, where a painting is divided into four or more segments or panels. There are two pairs of movable wings, and three different displays for use on different occasions: an everyday display, a Sunday display, and a display for special holy days.
Commissioned for Abbot Benedict Eck of Mondsee in 1471 and completed in 1481, the giant polyptych has two sets of wings that can be closed across the inner corpus with the sculptured Coronation presenting a majestic array of huge Gothic figures dominated by the beautifully kneeling Madonna. The carved and painted gold centerpiece is visible when the inner panels are open, and shows the Coronation of the Virgin. The outer two pairs of painted wings represent four scenes of Saint Wolfgang. Wolfgang was appointed as bishop Benedictine of Ratisbon, where he established himself radiantly for his revolutionary passions and also for his skills as statesman.
The entire altarpiece is overshadowed by an elaborate wooden structure that is placed on top, enclosing the Crucifixion. In the centerpiece, Christ is sitting on a throne sincerely blessing Mary, whom he has crowned as the Queen of Heaven. In keeping with the traditions of German Gothic art, angels are fluttering around while John the Evangelist looks on. The inner faces of the second panels, on both sides of the carved body, are painted with scenes from the life of the Virgin.[3]
Some scholars believe that Pacher was not the only artist who has contributed to this very large altarpiece. His brother Friedrich Pacher may have painted the outer pieces of work depicting scenes from the life of Saint Wolfgang that are visible only when the altarpiece is closed shut. Nevertheless, the inner paintings all seem to have been completed by Michael Pacher himself.

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