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Reliquary altarpiece with a half-length image of the Virgin and standing saints

Reliquary altarpiece with a half-length image of the Virgin and standing saints
From the Piarist monastery of Trencsén

C. 1440-1450
Tempera , Wood
47 × 73 cm

Inv.: 53.579.1-3
Location: Building D, Ground Floor
Térkép

Reliquary altarpiece with a half-length image of the Virgin and standing saints

The house altar from Trencsén (today: Trenčin, Slovakia) contains a half-length devotional image of the Madonna. Its frame was refashioned in the 18th century according to the original pattern with small reliquary capsules enclosed in it. In the square and round cases for relics there were inscriptions of the saints' names on parchment to help identify the relics. When the altarpiece was remodeled in the Baroque period, the cases of the reliquary were filled with the venerated remains of Jesuit saints, revealing the continued reverence for this image of Mary, believed to be miraculous. This type of half-figure of the Virgin was ultimately of Byzantine origin and became especially popular in painting around 1400. Depictions from this period - as in the case of the house altar from Trencsén - expressed the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary. The movable wings decorated with female saints join the middle panel with the relics to create a kind of triptych.

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