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Matthias Grünewald

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, by Matthias Grunewald

Matthias Grünewald (c1470-1528) is one of the greatest figures in German Renaissance art. The visionary character of his work, with its expressive colour and line, is in stark contrast to Albrecht Dürer's.

His real name was Mathis Gothart Niethart. A seventeenth-century writer mistakenly identified him by the name Grünewald, his real name was not discovered till the 1920s. He was born in Würzburg in the 1470s. He served as court painter and engineer to two successive archbishops of Mainz from about 1510 to 1525. He left this post apparently because of Lutheran sympathies. Grünewald died in Halle in 1528.

The greatest of his works is the Isenheim Altarpiece, completed 1515, now in the Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar. It contains his most famous images: the Crucifixion, the Temptation of St Anthony, and the Resurrection.

See also: Early Renaissance painting

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