Artist: German Painter (probably active Hamburg and Lower Saxony, 1560s–80s)
Date: ca. 1573–82
Medium: Oil and gold on oak
Dimensions: Central panel 31 3/8 x 37 5/8 in. (79.7 x 95.6 cm); each wing 32 x 14 5/8 in. (81.3 x 37.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number: 17.190.13–15
This triptych, formerly attributed to Ludger tom Ring the Younger, was painted by an anonymous northern German painter. The donor family remains unidentified, but they surely hailed from Hamburg, the city whose church spires are shown on the orb in Christ’s hand. The verses on salvation and afterlife inscribed on the tablets above the figures are in Low German, the vernacular of much of northern Germany. They were taken verbatim from a Low German edition of Martin Luther’s Bible translation. Christ’s presence in the midst of this domestic gathering bespeaks a deeply Lutheran understanding of Christ’s direct accessibility to believers.