Master of Frankfurt: The Holy Family with a musician angel, saint Catherine and saint Barbara (1493)
(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)
A nice altarpiece by an unknown Flemish artist who is known today by the notname 'Master of Frankfurt' (he is named after an altarpiece in the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt). Depicted from left to right:
- Left panel: Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Easily recognizable by her attributes the sword and wheel (the instruments of her martyrdom). She is a virgin saint who was martyred during the reign of the Roman emperor Maxentius. A very popular saint who is one of the 14 Holy Helpers (against sudden death and the plague) and is the patron saint of a whole set of things such as unmarried girls, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians etc
- central panel: Mary, the Christ child, Joseph and a angel who is playing on a lute
- right panel: Saint Barbara of Nicomedia with her attribute, a three-windowed tower, behind her. Saint Barbara is also a virgin saint who was executed by her father in the late third century to early fourth century. She is also a member of the 14 Holy Helpers (against fever and sudden death) and is the patron saint of armourers, architects, artillerymen, firemen, mathematicians, miners and prisoners
The painting itself was cut in three parts after 1770 and before 1836 but the Prado managed to purchase all three parts. Any document regarding this painting has not survived so who commissioned this piece and for what occasion is a mystery. Painting from 1493.