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The Visitation, detail of the work-day side of an altar wing from the former high altarpiece of the Church of Saint Catherine in Selmecbánya (today Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia)

Artist: Master M S
Date made: 1506
Medium and support: lindenwood, gilded, oil-egg tempera
Dimensions: 140 × 94.5 cm
Type: panel painting
Inventory number: 2151
Collection: Old Hungarian Collection

In the most probably well-known medieval panel painting, we see Saint Elizabeth, pregnant with Saint John the Baptist, and Mary meeting in a place, where all elements praise the Lord. However, this idyll is only illusory: the rocks and twisting bare trees, just like the delicate flowers in the foreground, are slight allusions to the Passion. Elizabeth steps in front of the Virgin slightly bowed and as an expression of her devotion, she gently raises Mary’s left hand to kiss it.
The panel painting originates from the high altar of the church of Saint Catherine at Selmecbánya (today Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia). The altarpiece’s other image, the Adoration of the Magi, belongs to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, while the Nativity is in the parish church of Hontszentantal (today Svätý Anton, Slovakia). The Passion scenes – including the Resurrection, which bears the date 1506 and the initials MS – are held in the Christian Museum in Esztergom. The inscription has been identified as one of the painters of Veit Stoss’s high altar dedicated to Mary in Cracow, the MS thus standing for Marten Swarcz.

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