Portable Altar

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Object Name: 
Portable Altar
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 49.5 cm, W: 19 cm
Not on Display
about 1560-1580
Primary Description: 
Altar in black painted wood with small verre eglomise panels; the altar sits on a chest-like pedestal with one large drawer, the architectural unit is rectangular, entablature on top and flanked by two columns, and supported by a sarcophagus-like pedestal which rests on the chest-like base; the altar is surmounted by a double aedicula, the lower one with straight- sided entablature and flanked by two arches, the upper one with angled pediment; there are seven verre eglomise panels; the large one in the central niche of the altar, each of the wings or doors which are hinged to the pivoting columns, have two panels, the sixth one decorates the sarcophagus-like pedestal from the niche of the lower aedicula; the central panel shows the crucifixion, with St. Mary, St. John and probably Mary Madgelan, the crucifix is backed by a red cloud with angel heads, a frame with ornamental motifs contains ten oval medallions which contain symbols referring to the passion of Christ (instruments of the passion: rooster, crown of thorns, standard, etc.); as in all other panels the colors are predominately red, blue and gold, the skin is flesh colored, some silver has been used; the wings, when open, show the symbolic figures Pity and Charity, the first one giving a heart-shaped fruit to the child in the left arm and guilding and leading another child with her right hand, underneath an inscription "CHARITAS", a curtain-like ornament with an angel face as well as an amphora-like motif and another ornamental cross-like motif occupy the upper spaces; the wings when closed show St. Briget and St. Dorothy, the first one holding a cross and book of her revelations, looking downwards, underneath the inscription "S. PRIGIDA"; the other has in her right arm a basket of celestial fruits and flowers, in her left hand a large sword, underneath an inscription "S. DOROTHEA"; For complete description see Notepad: Current Full Description 1960-07-01
Pinkus, E., Former Collection
Magnificent House Altar from 1500s Restored (2008) illustrated, p. 4; BIB# AI101014
Recent Important Acquisitions, 2 (1960) illustrated, p. 143, #28; BIB# AI97738