The Jabach Altarpiece

Albrecht Dürer, The Jabach Altarpiece, circa 1504. Oil on panel, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, and the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany.

Albrecht Dürer (1471−1528) was a German artist generally regarded as one of the greatest creative minds of the Northern Renaissance. The panels seen here are the wings from a triptych altarpiece originally commissioned for the Wittenberg Palace Church in Saxony (present-day Germany). The central panel is now lost, but the wings remain to tell the story of Job—a test to determine if Job’s faith in God was sufficiently strong to overcome extreme adversity. Job sits on a pile of debris, his weary face cradled in his left hand. Job’s wife shows compassion by pouring water over his diseased skin, while musicians play nearby in an effort to soothe his suffering. (Job was considered by some to be the patron saint of musicians.) The drummer on the right is a self-portrait of the artist.

Albrecht Dürer, The Jabach Altarpiece, circa 1504.

A person deemed holy by a religious tradition, especially in Roman Catholicism.

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