The Jabach Altarpiece (1504) by Albrecht Durer

The Jabach Altarpiece - Albrecht Durer - 1504

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Jabach Altarpiece
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany, Stadel, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

About The Jabach Altarpiece

The artwork titled “The Jabach Altarpiece” was created by Albrecht Dürer in 1504. This religious painting, executed in oil on panel, is a fine example of the Northern Renaissance movement. The altarpiece is located across two places: the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Germany, and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The image showcased here depicts two panels of the altarpiece. On the left panel, we see an elderly man sitting pensively on the ground, semi-nude and with a contemplative expression on his face. A woman, dressed in a vibrant red dress with a white headdress, pours water over the man’s head, suggestive of baptism or spiritual cleansing. The setting appears to be outdoors with a natural landscape and a glimpse of a fire and clouds in the background.

The right panel shows two men standing, clad in distinctly Renaissance attire. The man in the foreground wears a striking red cape and a hat, holding a pilgrim’s staff, possibly indicating a journey or quest. The man behind him is similarly dressed and looks resolutely forward. The background continues the outdoor landscape theme, with rolling hills and a view into a more distant setting.

The attention to detail in the clothing and natural elements, as well as the use of oil paint, is indicative of the Northern Renaissance style — a period known for its meticulous detail, vivid color, and depth in portraiture and landscapes. The Jabach Altarpiece is rich in symbolism and narrative, providing a religious and moral commentary typical of the era in which Dürer was active.

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