Circle of the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet (active 147090)
German; Middle Rhineland
Colorless glass, silver stain, and vitreous paint; 13 7/8 x 9 1/2 in. (35.2 x 24.1 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1982 (1982.47.1)
This panel refers to the woman described in the Apocalypse"a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation 12:1). Here, the Virgin wears a crown and the hem of her garment falls over a crescent moon. Images of the Virgin as the woman of the Apocalypse became extremely popular in the late 1400s and were produced in large numbers after Sixtus IV granted an indulgence of 11,000 years for each specific prayer said in front of one of them. Mary was often called the second Eve, who, by giving birth to Christ, brought redemption to humankind.
The softness and delicacy of the figures, as well as the unmannered, free use of line, place this panel in the immediate circle of the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet, arguably the greatest graphic artist active in northern Europe before Albrecht Dürer.