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Textiles

Altar frontal with three scenes from the Life of Christ

Key data

Basle, ca. 1440/50

Wool tapestry

height 104 cm, width 298 cm

Inv. 1920.107.

Description

The scenes from the Life of Christ in the middle section of the frontal are flanked by Sts Agnes, John the Baptist, Elisabeth and Cecilia(?) on the left, and the Dominican saints Margaret of Hungary, Dominic, Peter Martyr and Thomas Aquinas or Vincent Ferrer on the right. In the first scene, the Presentation in the Temple, the wriggling Christchild is presented for circumcision to Simeon who receives him tenderly. In the background St Anne steps forward holding the dove and candle that signify the feast of Candlemas. The Noli me tangere follows, in which the resurrected Christ appears to Mary Magdalene. The third scene, representing the Entry into Jerusalem, shows Christ entering the city seated on an ass, followed by St Peter; both make gestures of blessing. A pious man spreads his cloak under the hooves of Christ's mount and a spectator watches these events from high in the branches of a palm tree. The coats of arms of the families Schönkind of Basle and Am Rhyn of Lucerne indicate the patronage. The small figure of a woman donor dressed in Dominican habit on the right, as well as the reference to Candlemas, suggest a link to the Dominican convent of Klingenthal near Basle. This house had the privilege of celebrating the feast of Candlemas, and from ca. 1293 till 1460 the seal of the abbess bore an image of the Presentation in the Temple.

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Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02
historisches.museum(at)bs.ch

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