Epitaph Picture of Johannes Geus
Epitaph Picture of Johannes Geus
Epitaph Picture of Johannes Geus
Epitaph Picture of Johannes Geus

Meister des Albrechtsaltars, Wien
1440

Material
Tempera

Collection
Dom Museum Wien
On loan from St. Stephen's Cathedral

Inv.Nr.
L/36

Tempera
Panel
Medieval art

On view

Query
Reproduction request
Loan request

Photo: Leni Deinhardstein, Lisa Rastl, Dom Museum Wien
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Epitaph Picture of Johannes Geus

This is the only surviving epitaph panel of St. Stephan's cathedral. It was painted by the famous Master of the Albrecht Altarpiece, who depicted astoundingly naturalistic details.

This is a commemorative panel, commissioned by Johannes Geus, which was to make people remember him after his death. Next to the kneeling figure of the patron, two more figures are shown. On the left we see Christ as the Man of Sorrows, i.e. the resurrected Christ with the wounds of his Passion, who is just opening the wound on his proper right side. Behind Geus stands his patron saint, John the Apostle. The golden chalice in his hand is his attribute as a saint. At the same time it establishes a relationship between the blood of Christ and the sacrament of the Eucharist.

The identity of the kneeling figure is revealed to us by an inscription. It is the university scholar and clergyman Johannes Geus who died in 1440.
This work is the only surviving epitaph panel from Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and was probably mounted there in the Apostles’ Choir. It is considered to be a main work of Viennese panel painting and is attributed to the so-called Master of the Albrecht Altarpiece. The famous Albrecht Altarpiece, which is to be found in the Klosterneuburg Monastery today, resembles the Geus epitaph in its coloring, painting technique, and style: what catches one’s eye is the realistic representation of Christ, whose left upper arm shows some gray veins. That he is depicted very much in motion, which becomes manifest in the way he lifts his loincloth, for example, is as conspicuous as the artist’s use of light and shadow modelling Christ’s muscular body, which reveals the influence of Netherlandish painting.