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Winged Altar depicted on new souvenir sheet from Liechtenstein

Winged Altar depicted on new souvenir sheet from Liechtenstein
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"Out of gratitude for Liechtenstein's help" Genevieve Louise Marthe Bertrand bequeathed to the Liechtenstein National Museum in 2010 a late Gothic altar triptych. When and in what form she had received this help is not known. The benefactor, who lived latterly in Geneva, died at the end of 2009. In her will she stipulated that the three-part winged altar, which she had bought at an auction in Lucerne at the beginning of the 1950s, was to pass after her death into the ownership of the National Museum. Her testamentary disposition indicated moreover that at an earlier date the altar must have belonged to a Prince of Liechtenstein. Because of its size experts think it highly probable that the winged altar once stood in the large chapel royal of a castle or in a church. Its donor is depicted on it, but has not so far been identified. The altar, made about 1490 by an unknown master craftsman from the Alpine region, illustrates in art history terms the transition from the mediaeval to the modern period. In this work the artist has dispensed in the side panels with the golden background traditionally employed up to that time, inserting there instead – as also in the center panel – new, fanciful landscape elements.

On the inner panel St. Martin is depicted on the Gospel (left) side together with a beggar and "St. Sebastian" (face value CHF 2.00). The center image shows St. Joachim with followers, together with "St. Anne and St. Mary with Christ-child" (face value CHF 6.00) and St. Joseph. On the altar's inner panel on the Epistle (right) side are "St. Christopher carrying the Christ child" (face value CHF 1.00) and a bishop. The exquisite commemorative sheetlet has been designed by Stephanie Keiser. Folding the paper sheet together lays three passepartout- type frames over the stamp faces, so moving each individual one into the foreground. If one unfolds the commemorative sheetlet, the complete altar painting becomes visible on the inside.

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