Bertram of Minden - The Grabow Altarpiece

The Grabow Altarpiece, painted c 1379 1383, by the little-known artist known as Master Bertram, or Bertram of Minden. It was originally painted for the church of St Peter in Hamburg; it is now in a local museum. It is a complex structure; here I will just be looking at the two side panels, painted with biblical images on both sides. The subject of some of the twenty-four images is unusual for the time, and some are not easy to interpret. The subject of the top row of images on both panels is Genesis: The lower images on the first panel are from the Old Testament. The second panel shows New Testament images of the Infancy of Christ.


The top row:  1. God divides light from darkness. 2. God divides land from water.  3 The Creation of the moon, sun and stars. 4. The creation of dry land and vegetation. 5. The creation of animals. 6. The creation of Adam.
The bottom row: 1. Offerings of Cain and Abel. 2. The Killing of Abel. 3. The building of the ark. 4. The binding of Isaac. 5.Isaac sends Esau to hunt and then give him his blessing, 6. The blessing is stolen by Jacob.

The top row: 1. The creation of Eve. 2. God tells them of the tree of knowledge. 3. The temptation by the serpent. 4. They are rebuked by God. 5. They are driven from Eden. 6. Adam and Eve have to labour.
Bottom Row: 1. The annunciation. 2. The nativity. 3. The adoration of the Magi. 4. The presentation at the temple. 5. The slaughter of of the innocents. 6. The rest on the flight into Egypt. (The first known image of this in art.)

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