This pair of double-sided panels once formed the wings of a now dismembered altarpiece, the central part of which was probably a Lamentation of Christ now in the National Gallery of Scotland. The altarpiece is thought to have been commissioned to commemorate the death in 1527 of Kasimir Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. In the Lamentation his coffin is depicted, surrounded by his family and peers. Friedrich died while travelling in Hungary, which may have justified the choice for the front left panel of Saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers. The margrave was succeeded by his brother Georg, which in turn probably explains the presence in the front right panel of Saint George. Stylistically, Saint Christopher and Saint George are close to the work of Albrecht Dürer and of his brother, Hans. On the verso are the figures of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara. Saint Catherine bears the date of 1519 (formerly read as 1517), some years prior to Kasimir Friedrich‟s death, which suggests that these two panels were originally part of a different altarpiece. They are by a different hand and were cut down to fit the height of the Lamentation.
Saint Barbara About 1519-27 © Compton Verney
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