Grünewald, Matthias

(Mathis Gothart Neithart; c. 1470/1475-1528)
   Along with Albrecht Dürer, Grünewald was the greatest artistic genius of Renaissance Germany. He was practically unknown until the 20th century when his identity and works were finally rediscovered. Of his paintings, only approximately a dozen have survived. Grünewald was court painter to Uriel von Gemmingen, the archbishop of Mainz, and his successor, Albrecht von Brandenburg. A document of 1510, the earliest relating to the artist, refers to him as a designer of waterworks. In the following year, Grünewald was supervising the building of Aschaffenburg Castle for Archbishop Uriel, and, in 1517, he was painting an altarpiece for Heinrich Reitzmann, canon of the Church of Aschaffenburg. Other known documents on Grünewald are records of payment for three altarpieces he painted in Mainz in 1524-1525, lost in a storm when the Swedes carried them off by boat after their conquests in Germany. In 1525, Grünewald left von Brandenburg's service and went to Halle where he died in 1528.
   The Mocking of Christ (1503; Munich, Alte Pinakothek) is Grünewald's earliest dated work. Rendered for the Church of Aschaffenburg, it already features what will become one of the main characteristics of the master's style—deep emotionalism that evokes pity toward the victimized Christ, here achieved through the crowding of figures and the scornful expressions of the tormentors. Grünewald's Isenheim Altarpiece (fin. 1515; Colmar, Musée d'Unterlinden) epitomizes his ability to evoke emotive responses from viewers. In its closed state, the work presents the crucified, broken, and bloodied body of Christ with St. Mary Magdalen kneeling at his feet in desperate agony. In its open state, the altarpiece includes the Resurrection, where Christ is shown as having recovered from his wounds, now a handsome, healthy figure rising to heaven while surrounded by a magnificent halo of yellow and red. The image clearly provides a ray of hope to those who suffer, a fitting subject as the altarpiece originally stood in the chapel of the commandery of the Hospital Order of St. Anthony in Isenheim. Grünewald's Stuppach Madonna (c. 1517-1520; Stuppach, Parish Church) may be the central panel for Reitzmann's altarpiece. It presents the Virgin and Child in a playful moment, their faces lit by the joy they experience. Next to them are prominently displayed lilies, symbols of the Virgin's purity. Behind are a garden, rainbow, and cathedral, this last denoting that Mary is here depicted as Ecclesia, the Church.
   Grünewald's works convey meaning through gestures, distortions, grimaces, and resplendent colorism and light. His back-grounds are there not to locate the work in a certain specific setting but rather to add to the spiritual drama of his scenes. His works are either full of tragedy or full of joy. He was among those few masters who was able to communicate through visual language the complexities of human emotion and hope for an afterlife that offers succor from the pain of living.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • Grünewald, Matthias — orig. Mathis Gothardt Neithardt or Mathis Gothart Nithart born с 1480, Würzburg, bishopric of Würzburg died August 1528, Halle, archbishopric of Magdeburg German painter. Details of his early life are vague. By с 1509 he was court painter to the… …   Universalium

  • Grünewald, Matthias — (c. 1475–1528)    Artist.    Little is known of the life of Grünewald. However his Crucifixion is world famous. Jesus on the cross is a tortured figure while John the baptist points to him and the inscription reads, ‘He must increase and I must… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Grünewald, Matthias — (d. 1528)    German painter, also active as an architect and engineer. Virtually nothing is known about his early life and training. He was probably born in Würzburg, but even this is uncertain. The growing fashion for italianate styles, evident… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Grünewald,Matthias — Grü·ne·wald (gro͞oʹnə wôld , grüʹnə vält ), Matthias. Originally Mathis Gothardt Nithart. Died 1528. German painter noted for his paintings of religious scenes, particularly the Crucifixion, in which he employed vivid colors and exaggerated… …   Universalium

  • Grünewald, Matthias — orig. Mathis Gothardt Neithardt or Mathis Gothart Nithart (1480, Würzburg, obispado de Würzburg–ago. 1528, Halle, arzobispado de Magdeburgo). Pintor alemán. Los detalles de los primeros años de su vida son inciertos. En 1509 ya era pintor de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Grünewald — Grünewald, Matthias, deutscher Maler, war am Ende des 15. und im ersten Biert el des 16. Jahrh. tätig. Man weiß von seinen Lebensverhältnissen nur, daß er in Aschaffenburg geboren war und sich meist in Mainz aufhielt. Auch sein künstlerisches… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Grünewald — Grünewald, Matthias, Maler des 16. Jahrh., aus Aschaffenburg, dort und im Elsaß tätig, gest. nach 1529. Seine Werke manieriert, aber in trefflichem Helldunkel; Hauptwerk der sog. Altar von Isenheim (Colmar). – Vgl. Fleurent (1903), Bock (1904) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Matthias Grünewald — Das sogenannte Erlanger Selbstbildnis, lange Zeit als einziges authentisches Selbstporträt Grünewalds betrachtet, wird von der jüngeren Forschung zunehmend als Studie zu Johannes dem Evangelisten gesehen Matthias Grünewald (16. Jahrhundert), auch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Matthias Grünewald — Second state of the Isenheim Altarpiece, Unterlinden Museum Matthias Grünewald or Mathis (as first name), Gothart or Neithardt (as surname), (c. 1470 – August 31, 1528), was a German Renaissance painter of religious works, who ignored Renaissance …   Wikipedia

  • Matthias Grünewald — Mathis Gothart Nithart Juan Evangelista (largo tiempo considerado un autorretrato) de Grünewald …   Wikipedia Español

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