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Maître de Liesborn



Maître de Liesborn
Active in Westphalia, 2nd half of 15th c.




15th c.


Tempera on wood


30.4 x 20.8 cm


Purchase, gift of Murray G. Ballantyne and Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1972.5


Western Art

The Master of Liesborn was flourishing in the German city of Westphalia about 1460-1470. Numerous painters of this period can only be identified and named after groups of similar works or projects. The Master of Liesborn is named as such because of panels he painted for the high altar and four lateral altars in the Benedictine abbey of Liesborn.

This panel depicts the moment when the archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin that God has chosen her to bear the Christ Child (Luke I:26-38). The subject of the Annunciation had proliferated throughout Europe since the twelfth century, when devotion to the Virgin became particularly popular. The archangel is depicted on the left, his announcement written in Latin on the scroll: “Rejoice, you are highly favoured with the Lord. Blessed art thou among women.” The Virgin, pausing from her study of the Bible, a symbol of her great devotion, bows her head in submission. The Holy Spirit is seen descending from above. The simple domestic setting with a view to the landscape was typical of Northern European interpretations of the subject and intended to highlight the notion of the divine infiltrating the terrestrial and commonplace.

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