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across bottom: (cross) Sanctus (cross) Albannus (cross); on back of glove: (decorative element); on clip of pennant: (decorative element)


Mrs. Joanne Freedman [d. 1982], Washington, D.C., by 1972; gift 1972 to NGA.

Associated Names
Freedman, Joanne, Mrs.
Technical Summary

The panel is constructed from four boards of spruce wood joined vertically.[1] Dendrochronological analysis reveals that the boards of the Saint Alban panel match those of the Saint Alcuin panel (1972.73.4) in reverse, and thus that Saint Alban originally appeared on the interior and Saint Alcuin on the exterior of a single panel as one wing of an altarpiece. Likewise, Saint Wolfgang would have appeared on the exterior and Saint Valentine on the interior of another wing of an altarpiece. Dendrochronology also shows that all boards used in construction of the original two panels came from the same three trees, with an earliest felling date of 1495, indicating the early sixteenth century as a plausible date for the creation of the altarpiece. The extreme thinness of the panels (0.1 - 0.5 cm) appears to be the result of the separation at some time of obverse from reverse. The panels have been cradled.

Cloth, apparent in raking light and x-radiograph, has been applied over the ground in the upper section of the panel, above the screen. Underdrawing, applied with a brush in a vigorous style, is visible to the naked eye in the more thinly applied areas of the flesh. Examination under infrared reflectography further reveals that washes were applied to establish shadow, with line drawing used extensively to set outline and interior detail. The area of the screen has been textured, first by tooling in the ground layer, then by application of ridges of thick paint over a warm brown underlayer. This area was subsequently gilded, and bright green and black paint was applied to add depth and detail, with the green creating additional ridges. This technique is observable under microscopic examination. The flesh areas are very thinly painted.

Washboarding, warping, and localized splitting are present in the center of the panel. There is a long check (approximately 146 cm) extending up through the saint's left shoulder and above his head, and a join is partially visible in his face. Losses have occurred throughout the panel, but especially in the lower section. There is blistering in the saint's red cloak above the trim; to the left of the central join in the floor, just below the cloak; and below left of the saint's foot. Unusual losses in the form of regular rectangles are scattered over the surface but occur mostly in the lower part of the robe.

Two stages of retouching are present. The older stage is generalized and extends over original paint in the inner sleeves, inner cloak, and extensively in the floor platform. The second stage is confined to areas of loss, primarily along the three joins and along the sides and top edge. All of the retouching is discolored and frequently matte.

[1] As identified by Peter Klein, examination report, 26 September 1987, in NGA curatorial files.

European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 258, repro., as Follower of Michael Pacher.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 297, repro., as Follower of Michael Pacher.
Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1993: 187-193, repro. 190.
Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 20.
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