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Title The Virgin Mary Releasing a Soul from Purgatory
Collection Macclesfield Museums Service, West Park Museum
Artist Attributed to Austrian School
Attributed to German School
Date Earliest probably 1450
Date Latest probably 1550
Description Certain features of this unusual panel suggest it came from late fifteenth-century Austria. Throughout Western Europe, many altarpieces were made at this time as individuals, families and social groups became art patrons. This panel probably comes from a larger altarpiece depicting the life and miracles of the Virgin. It shows her ability to intercede with her son Jesus on behalf of humanity; here she helps to release a soul from purgatory. It has been suggested that the man on the right is King David. He is more likely a patron-saint related to the Church, town or patron.
Current Accession Number 243.1976
Subject religion (Virgin Mary, Purgatory, King David?)
Measurements 70.0 x 38 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material tempera on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Brocklehurst family 1898.
Principal Exhibitions Exhibition, West Park Museum, Macclesfield, 1898, as An old German picture painted around 1550, The Virgin Mary releasing a soul from purgatory at the intercession of King David
Publications Bonnaud, F. M., Guide to the Brocklehurst Museum and Art Gallery, Macclesfield, 1949, no. 14, p. 8, ill., as 'Medieval religious painting early 16th century painted on wood panel'.
Notes Sticker on Reverse of panel 'From Town Clerk, Macclesfield, Tel no. 2205. The Virgin Mary releasing a soul from Purgatory at the Intercession of King David, German School. C. 1500. Loaned by Macclesfield Museum'. Writing ul '62'. Sticker ll '48'[;]. It has been suggested that the work is close to the Master of Schotten altarpiece. There are some similarities with a Crucifixion attributed to this artist in O. Pächt, Österreichische Tafelmalerei der Gotik (Augsburg, 1929) pp. 19-21, ill. 24. An Austrian provenance is supported by the similar hat to that worn by Mary found on the right hand outer wing of an altarpiece dated 1500-1510, from Bressanone, South Tirol, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. no. 192 to D-1866. As the painting was in the inaugural exhibition of West Park, it must have come from the Brocklehurst family who presented their collection to make the gallery. They lived at Hare Hill, Macclesfield. Susan Foister, National Gallery, London has suggested that the costume of the Virgin is not compatible with Mary but that it may show St Catherine with the philosophers self -combusting.
Rights Owner Macclesfield Museums Trust and Macclesfield Borough Council
Author Dr Phillippa Plock



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