Anonymous Master from the Workshop of Lucas Cranachs the Elder, Saint Maurice, wing of the ‘Pfirt Altarpiece’, 1526/30 (Detail)
Beechwood, 93.2 x 41 cm
Photo: Bavarian State Painting Collections, Sibylle Forster
Bavarian State Painting Collections, State Gallery in Schloss Johannisburg Aschaffenbug
THE SO-CALLED ‘PFIRT ALTARPIECE’ FROM THE CRANACH WORKSHOP: A RESTORED MASTERPIECE FROM THE STAATSGALERIE ASCHAFFENBURGAlte Pinakothek
The six wing paintings of the ‘Pfirt Altarpiece’ come from the Neue Stiftskirche in Halle that Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg fitted out with winged altarpieces and individual panels between 1520 and 1530 – one of the largest commissions that Lucas Cranach the Elder ever received. During the Reformation the artworks were removed to Aschaffenburg. The related central panel was once in the possession of Freifrau von Pfirt (now in the Augustinermuseum in Freiburg i. Br.), resulting in the altarpiece’s unusual name.
The restoration, completed in 2018, has not only brought the works’ glowing colours back to light but also rendered the high quality of the painting visible once again. Together with Grünewald’s ‘Erasmus and Maurice panel’ and Cranach’s ‘Albrecht of Brandenburg in front of the Crucified Christ’, the works create an ensemble, on view for just a few weeks in the Dürer Room in the Alte Pinakothek, that has never been seen before. The wings of the ‘Pfirt Altarpiece’ and the other some 280 paintings will be returning to the renovated Aschaffenburg State Gallery in Schloss Johannisburg in 2022.