Dresden Altar - Albrecht Durer. The central panel - 117x96, side - 114x45
Altar marks the beginning of a mature period in the work of Albrecht Dürer. He was patronized by the Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise. Dürer created a number of works for him, among them the presented polyptych.
The plot of the central panel - Worship of the Virgin Mary the Baby. Left wing depicts St. Anthony (with the traditional attribute - the bell, although without the pig for which it was originally intended), he is calm, despite the fact that he is surrounded by all kinds of fantastic creatures that tempted him in the desert. On the right wing - saint sebastian. His appearance is unconventional: the arrows with which he was pierced are absent, but wounds from them remained on the body (neck, collarbone and stomach). In 1495, a terrible epidemic of plague broke out in Germany, which became one of the reasons for the artist's departure to Italy. This altar depicting a saint is a testament to its successful outcome for the artist.
The central panel, in addition to the main scene, contains important plot details. So, next to the Virgin Mary on the music stand is a book. This is an allusion to the Book of Wisdom of Solomon. Thus, it is clear that Dürer interprets Her image as “Virgo Sapientissima” (from Latin - “Virgin Mary of Wisdom”) or “Mater Sapientiae” (from Latin - “Mother of Wisdom”). Angels hold a crown over the head of the Virgin, which indicates it as “Regina Coeli” (from the Latin - “Queen of Heaven”, as it is called in mystical literature of the XII-XIII centuries). In the background on the left, Joseph the carpenter is working behind his workbench, on the right is a view of the street and a donkey standing at the house, hinting at an escape to Egypt.