Artist: Hans Schäufelein (German, Nuremberg ca. 1480–ca. 1540 Nördlingen)
Artist: and Attributed to the Master of Engerda (German, active ca. 1510–20)
Date: ca. 1510
Medium: Oil and gold on fir
Dimensions: 55 x 53 1/8 in. (139.7 x 134.9 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Karen and Mo Zukerman, Kowitz Family Foundation, Anonymous, and Hester Diamond Gifts, 2011
Accession Number: 2011.485a, b
This large, double-sided panel is one of four that formed the wings of a folding triptych (see metmuseum.org/collections for a reconstruction). When open, the altarpiece showed episodes from the Life of the Virgin Mary—here her death, or dormition. Dürer’s influence is evident in the humanity conveyed in the individualized heads of the apostles and their concentrated mood of quiet sorrow.
Schäufelein was among Dürer's most gifted pupils and the one whose style most consistently showed the influence of the great German master. Between 1509 and 1515, he also served in the Augsburg workshop of Hans Holbein the Elder.
When closed, the monumental triptych to which this panel belonged showed scenes from the Passion of Christ. They were painted by an artist known as the Master of Engerda and were based on designs by Hans Holbein the Elder. Hans Schäufelein intervened at a late stage in the painting process, adding a tormenter at the upper right and altering the position of the rope-puller to achieve a more dynamic, active expression. The scene’s dramatic mood is heightened by the emotionally shattered Christ, who looks out of the painting rather than down at the ground.