Joachim Patinir (Netherlandish, active by 1515, died 1524)
Oil on wood
Shaped top: central panel, overall, with engaged frame, 46 1/4 x 32 in. (117.5 x 81.3 cm); each wing, overall, with engaged frame, 47 1/2 x 14 in. (120.7 x 35.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1936 (36.14a–c)
A milestone in the history of European landscape painting, this intact altarpiece may have been made for a church in southern Germany. Its outside wings show Saint Sebald, patron saint of Nuremberg, and Saint Anne with the Virgin and Christ Child. Following Netherlandish tradition, large-scale sacred figures dominate the foreground: Christ, who is baptized in the Jordan River, Saint Jerome, and Anthony the Hermit (shown with the monsters that assailed him). The true subject of the picture, however, is Patinir's splendid panoramic landscape, which the viewer is encouraged to travel through visually in the manner of a pilgrimage.