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Episode 1424             Episode 1426
Episode 1425

Dresden Triptych
Tue, 2021-Mar-30 02:08 UTC
Length - 3:34

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 30 March 2021 is Dresden Triptych.

The Dresden Triptych (or Virgin and Child with St. Michael and St. Catherine and a Donor, or Triptych of the Virgin and Child) is a very small hinged-triptych altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. It consists of five individual panel paintings: a central inner panel, and two double-sided wings. It is signed and dated 1437, and in the permanent collection of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, with the panels still in their original frames. The only extant triptych attributed to van Eyck, and the only non-portrait signed with his personal motto, ALC IXH XAN ("I Do as I Can"). the triptych can be placed at the midpoint of his known works. It echoes a number of the motifs of his earlier works while marking an advancement in his ability in handling depth of space, and establishes iconographic elements of Marian portraiture that were to become widespread by the latter half of the 15th century. Elisabeth Dhanens describes it as "the most charming, delicate and appealing work by Jan van Eyck that has survived". The paintings on the two outer wings become visible when the triptych is closed. They show the Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel in an Annunciation scene painted in grisaille, which because of their near-monochrome colouring give the impression that the figures are sculpted. The three inner panels are set in an ecclesiastical interior. In the central inner panel Mary is seated and holds the Christ Child on her lap. On the left hand wing Archangel Michael presents a kneeling donor, while on the right St. Catherine of Alexandria stands reading a prayer book. The interior panels are outlined with two layers of painted bronze frames, inscribed with mostly Latin lettering. The texts are drawn from a variety of sources, in the central frames from biblical descriptions of the assumption, while the inner wings are lined with fragments of prayers dedicated to saints Michael and Catherine.

The work may have been intended for private devotion, perhaps as a portable altarpiece for a migrant cleric. That the frames are so richly decorated with Latin inscriptions indicates the donor, whose identity is lost, was highly educated and cultured. Because of a lack of surviving documentary evidence on commissions of 15th century-Northern painting, the identities of donors are often established through evidence gathered by modern art historians. In this work, damaged coats of arms on the borders of the interior wings have been identified with the Giustiniani of Genoa – an influential albergo active from 1362 – who established trade links with Bruges as early as the mid-14th century.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 02:08 UTC on Tuesday, 30 March 2021.

For the full current version of the article, see Dresden Triptych on Wikipedia.

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