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Purchased 1980 with funds from Utah Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
The Master of Frankfurt's Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter c.1496 is a small Netherlandish devotional panel and the oldest European work in the Queensland Art Gallery's Collection.
The identity of the artist is unknown, though his title, The Master of Frankfurt, is derived from the location of two of his altarpieces, rather than his studios, which were based in Antwerp.
The scene illustrates a holy conversation between Virgin and Child with selected saints. A donor, who likely paid for the painting and wished for the intercession of the Virgin, sits at the prayer desk turning the pages of a Book of Hours.
Elaborate religious iconography is signified by simple elements of the painting; for example, the dog indicates faithfulness and the daisies, purity. This language and the identity of each saint would have been easily understood by a contemporary audience.
Infra-red and X-ray images have revealed that the painting was altered (the technical term is pentimenti) by the artist, presumably in order to fit the specifications of a commission.
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