The picture shows a detail of the central panel of the Triptych of the Adoration of the Magi.
The Infant Christ sits solemnly enthroned on his mother's lap. The Virgin and Child resemble a cult statue beneath its baldachin, and the Magi approach with all the gravity of priests in a religious ceremony. The splendid crimson mantle of the kneeling King echoes the monumental figure of the Virgin. That Bosch intended to show a parallel between the homage of the Magi and the celebration of the Mass is clearly indicated by the gift which the oldest King has placed at the feet of the Virgin: it is a small sculptured image of the Sacrifice of Isaac, a prefiguration of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. Other Old Testament episodes appear on the elaborate collar of the second King, representing the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, and on the Moorish King's silver orb, depicting Abner offering homage to David.
The most curious detail of Bosch's Epiphany is the man standing just inside the stable behind the Magi. Naked except for a thin shirt and a crimson robe gathered around his loins, he wears a bulbous crown; a gold bracelet encircles one arm, and a transparent cylinder covers a sore on his ankle. He regards the Christ Child with an ambiguous smile, but the faces of several of his companions appear distinctly hostile.
In the summer of 1876, Cézanne went to L'Estaque, which was then an idyllic fishing village on a bay in the Mediterranean, to paint landscapes. At that time he had clearly learned a great deal from Pissarro, and added a great deal of his own. This brightly coloured seascapes is serene and formal. The painting is carefully structures, with the strong colours - the terracotta roof tiles, the green foliage, the blue surface of the water - covering the surface of the canvas with an even intensity.
This panel is mentioned in the inventory, dated 1598, of the Kunstkammer of Munich. The cloth around the hips was presumably expanded upward around 1600. The opinion that the Lucretia, all things considered, was "Dürer's most unpopular work," is undoubtedly widely shared.
Because of many discrepancies and discordances in the proportions and in the expression of the figure, Anzelewsky defines it as "a parody rather than an exaltation of the classical feminine figure." The theme takes its origin from a Roman story that narrates how Lucretia, the virtuous wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, is dishonoured by Sextus, son of Tarquinius the Superb. She then takes her own life out of shame.
The Lucretia of Dürer's painting does not pierce her heart. The artist thus follows one tradition, spread by Italian painters like Francesco Francia and adopted before him by Lucas Cranach as well. But all these represented the woman in a three-quarter profile, and they never set her in her own bedroom. The blood spouting from the wound is rather slight and does not stain the bridal bed, which remains neat and clean and undisturbed. This certainly indicates that the insult suffered is only exterior and has not contaminated the intimate purity of the chaste matron. There is one markedly commonplace and bourgeois detail in the scene, which must create the sense of a heroic-pathetic atmosphere: the presence of a night vase under the bed. The brush strokes are extraordinarily fine; the colours used for the drapes and the fabrics are predominantly various shades of red, blue, and green. Dürer made use of drawings that go back to 1508 for this painting.
The picture shows a detail of the right wing.
The open-air table, the cloth slung tent-like over the tree stump beside the temptress, and the servants pouring wine seem like a grotesque parody of the traditional Garden of Love.
Inscription in the top left: HIERONIMVS HOLTZSHVER ANNO DO[MI]NI 1526 AETATIS SVE 57; to the right, near the head, monogrammed.
Dürer painted this portrait in Nuremberg in 1526, when the sitter was 57 years old. Hieronymus Holzschuher (1469-1529) came from an old Nuremberg patrician family. In 1500 he was elected junior, and nine years later senior burgomaster. In 1514 he ranked as one of the seven Elders of the city government, and on his death in 1529 a commemorative medal bearing his profile was struck. Holzschuher was a fearless champion of the reformation movement in Nuremberg. In Dürer, who was only slightly younger, he found both a sympathizer and a friend. When the painter visited the Netherlands in 1521, he bought presents for Holzschuher, a fact which he noted in his diary.
The artist has filled almost the whole of the upper half of the panel with his subject's powerful head, for which the upper part of the body, clad in heavy fur, seems merely to serve as a plinth, attention being focused on the features. In this portrait Dürer has reproduced details with incredible fidelity. The fine brush has rendered the thick, wavy hair, which has receded somewhat over the forehead, with all the delicacy of a pen-and-ink drawing. At the same time, the face and the full lips are strongly modelled and determine the full-blooded vitality of the man. Reflected in the sitter's eyes are the window-bars of the room in which Dürer worked. Dürer himself fitted to the frame a sliding cover bearing Holzschuher's coat of arms; frame and cover are still extant in their original state and have served for centuries to protect the picture.
Dürer was renowned for his ability to paint details, such as hair, realistically and it was pictures like this which are said to have led to his famous conversation with Giovanni Bellini in 1505 or 1506. The elderly Venetian painter had asked Dürer for one of the brushes which he used to execute his painstaking portraits. Dürer then handed Bellini a brush identical to ones the Venetian artist already used. `I do not mean this, I mean the brushes you use to paint several hairs with one touch,' Bellini responded. Dürer picked up the brush and demonstrated how he painted.
In 1651 when the painter and art-historian Joachim von Sandrart was commissioned by some distinguished personality, possibly the Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria, to purchase the panel, his offer was turned down on the ground that it was intended to remain in the subject's family as a permanent memorial to him. During the eighteenth century the picture remained, well looked-after, in a groundfloor room of the family residence. Then, with the growth of romanticism in the early nineteenth century, there was a revival of interest in German painting and this famous portrait was brought out into the light of day. The new-found enthusiasm for Dürer's art made this particular portrait more popular than almost any other work of his. When it was publicly exhibited for the first time in Munich in 1869, it had already been accepted as epitomizing the old German patrician class. The portrait remained in the possession of Holzschuher's descendants in Nuremberg until it was purchased for the Berlin Gallery in 1884.
The inscription on the wall top left is: "COMPLETU(m) AN(n)O D(omini) M CCCC XXXIIJ P(er) JOH(ann)EM DE EYC BRVGIS". There is a motto on the right: "ALS IXH XAN" (als ich kan, i.e. "as I can"). The attribution to Van Eyck is debated.