Matthias Grünwald's world-famous Isenheim Altarpiece ranks among the most powerful expressionistic works of the Northern Renaissance. Characterized by great emotional force, exquisite handling of color and brilliantly interwoven subtleties of Christian iconography, the multi-paneled altarpiece has remained the object of intense scholarly interest and the main attraction of the Musée d'Unterlinden in Colmar, France.
Ruth Mellinkoff offers an original analysis of the altarpiece, uncovering the late medieval popular beliefs that underlie its unusual visual content. She places its rich imagery within a tradition of Christian art, and stunningly, discovers Lucifer among the angels observing the Nativity.
Ruth Mellinkoff is Research Associate at the University of California's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and she is the author of The Mark of Cain (California, 1981) and The Horned Moses in Medieval Art and Thought (California, 1970).
"Dr. Mellinkoff's work is a small jewel. The essay is riveting, the evidence convincingly mustered, the scholarship impeccable and wide-ranging, and her thesis is new and convincing."—Lucy Freeman Sandler, New York University
"Ruth Mellinkoff's iconographic discoveries afford us valuable fresh insight into the significance of a well-known monument. Her identification of the angel in the temple as the figure of Satan is wholly convincing, and it significantly alters our appreciation of this important, yet enigmatic, work."—Keith Moxey, University of Virginia
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