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The meeting of St. Erasmus and St. Mauritius - Matthias Grunewald. 226 x 176 cm
How sometimes time is ruthless ... It not only dulls emotions, makes events approximate in our memory, but also completely “loses” names. That is exactly what unfairly did the time with the greatest artist of northern Gothic Matthias Grunewald. More recently, it was proved that his name is different - Gothart Nithard.
Until today, only about 10 works of Grunewald (Nithard) have reached. One of the most famous is the painting “Meeting of St. Erasmus and St. Mauritius”. In the 1520s Albrecht of Brandenburg, Archbishop and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire commissioned a painting from the artist.
Albrecht played a large role in the popularization of St. Erasmus (left on the canvas). The relics of St. Erasmus were transferred to the residence of the Archduke in Halle. However, Mauritius was considered the patron saint of this city. Albrecht of Brandenburg created the program (theme for the plot) of the work, thereby “reviving” the meeting of the two saints. However, the meeting of two spiritual leaders: Saint Erasmus from the European continent, and Mauritius from the African continent, cannot be regarded as simply the embodiment of a particular case (transfer of the relics of one saint to a city where the other was recognized as a patron). In the world arena of those times when religion was a power-generating force, there are black and fair-skinned saints who emphasize not only unity, but also the power of Catholicism and the Roman Church.
Erasmus is dressed in luxurious golden episcopal robes. Inexplicable ropes hang on the hand of the European saint, but it is worthwhile to find out the biography of Erasmus and everything becomes clear, forcing something to shrink inside - in this way Grunewald depicted the interiors of the saint. The martyr Erasmus was killed in a brutal way - with the help of a winch all the entrails were pulled out of it.
Opponent Erasmus is a typical representative of the African people. Saint Mauritius was the leader of the legion in which only Christians served. That is why the Thebes legion refused to take part in the reprisal against peaceful Christians. It was over this legion that the famous decimation (the killing of every tenth) was carried out. In the end, all the warriors were killed, as was their leader Mauritius.
A comparative analysis of the preserved portrait of Albrecht of the Brandenburg brush by Lucas Cranach suggests that in the image of St. Erasmus Grunewald portrayed the customer of the work, which seems quite logical.
Large picture. She is distinguished by pomp and church luxuries. One cannot fail to note the mastery of the brush of Grunewald - a filigree game of gold, silver, blue, red, correctly placed accents, subtle color highlights (not for nothing that expressionists considered Grunewald to be their direct predecessor).