Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece
Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece

Hans Schäufelein (* 1482 or '83 probably in Nuremberg; + 1539 or 40 in Nördlingen)
1504/05–1507

Material
Tempera

Collection
Dom Museum Wien
On loan from the Archbishopric of Vienna

Inv.Nr.
L/58

Tempera
Altar
Renaissance

On view

Query
Reproduction request
Loan request

Photo: Leni Deinhardstein, Lisa Rastl, Dom Museum Wien
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Ober-St.-Veit Altarpiece

This altarpiece looks back on a long and tumultous history. For a time it was considered to have been planned by Albrecht Dürer; in the 19th century it was even split.

The panels of the opened altarpiece show three scenes from the Passion of Christ. On the left wing we see the crowd leaving Jerusalem through a city gate to Calvary; Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross, while Saint Veronica kneels in front of them offering a piece of linen. Calvary, Christ’s place of execution, is depicted on the central panel: a multifigured panorama with Jesus on the Cross as its thematic center near the upper margin. Other scenes unfold with the group around Mary on the left or the men throwing dice for Jesus’ garment in the foreground, for example. The right wing confronts us with the resurrected Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene: the “Noli me tangere” motif. Jesus raises his right hand in the sign of benediction, holding a shovel and the resurrection flag with his left. The empty tomb is visible in the background. The closed altarpiece offers life-size paintings of the two guardian saints against the plague Saint Sebastian (left) and Saint Roch (right) set off against a dark ground. Since the altarpiece was split in the nineteenth century, the inner and the outer sides of the wings can be viewed at the same time today.

The piece, which was commissioned by Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, in the early sixteenth century, was executed by Hans Schäufelein, who, however, relied on models whose author has not been identified. The altarpiece was believed to have been planned by Dürer and realized by Schäufelein for a long time. In the meantime, however, preparatory drawings by Hans Baldung have been suggested. Where the triptych was originally installed is equally uncertain: it was presumably made for a church in Nuremberg, and there are quite a number of indications that the retable was intended for the Saint Sebastian’s Chapel torn down in 1553. We know, however, that its name dates back to the 1860s, when it was brought to the Castle in Ober-St.-Veit, where it was mounted for about seventy years until it was handed over to the Cathedral and Diocesan Museum, today’s Dom Museum Wien.