Hungarian National Gallery English


The Death of St. Joseph
Maulbertsch, Franz Anton

The Death of St. Joseph

ca. 1767
Oil , Canvas
324 x 159 cm

Inv.: L.5.121
Location: Building D, 1st Floor; Building C, Landing

Maulbertsch, Franz Anton - The Death of St. Joseph

The superb master of Central-European Baroque fresco and altarpiece painting, Franz Anton Maulbertsch, fulfilled numerous Hungarian ecclesiastical commissions. The St Joseph altarpiece was probably made for the church of the Trinitarians in Buda. In this work, the scene runs parallel to the picture plane. The lit surfaces emerge from the warm brown dimness of the room. In the dark, murky interior, St Joseph lying on the bed, glances at God in Heaven at the moment of his death. On his right is Mary, with Christ as the intermediary appearing next to his bed. The graceful, fine figure of Mary, so characteristic of Maulbertsch's paintings, does not look at Joseph. Instead she watches the angels holding a lily and playing with carpenter's tools in the foreground. The heavenly Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as the Holy Family on Earth, Mary, Joseph and Christ appear all together in this work. The painting on view here has the same subject-matter and composition as the more detailed version made for the Carmelite church of the town Székesfehérvár.