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Christ Taking Leave of his Mother, fragment of an epitaph from Nyitra (today Nitra, Slovakia)

Date: 1520-1530
Medium: thick, grey-yellow limestone
Dimensions: 116 × 98.5 × 16 cm
Type: relief
Inventory number: 55.1594
Collection: Old Hungarian Collection

On the relief, Christ is standing on the right, Mary is falling on her knees in front of him and there are two women behind her watching the scene with the subtle silhouettes of the houses of Jerusalem (or Bethania) in the background. The right side of the relief is fragmentary; the adjacent part with three apostle figures survived in the Franciscan church in Nyitra, thus, the figures of Christ and his mother were originally in the centre of the composition. The Franciscans of Nyitra also preserve the relief of the Resurrection, the style of which is related to this work. The two reliefs might have belonged together in a single grand-scale ensemble, originally in an ornate stone frame adorned with coats of arms and inscriptions. The style and high quality of this work from the period between 1520 and 1530 suggest that it was imported, perhaps from an area beyond Vienna. Its closest iconographic analogy is in Deutschordenskirche in Vienna (Jobst Truchsess von Wetzhausen’s epitaph, 1524), but is somewhat poorer in quality. This epitaph fragment from Nyitra is – regarding its type – an early example of the renaissance stone epitaphs becoming frequent in Hungary in the last third of the 16th century.

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