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Saints Gregory, Maurice and Augustine
Circle of Master of Liesborn

This panel once formed the left shutter of an altarpiece in the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn in north-west Germany. The right-hand shutter is also in the National Gallery’s collection.

This painting shows, from left to right, Saints Gregory, Maurice and Augustine. The gilded clasp that fastens Saint Gregory’s robes is decorated with the scene of the Annunciation (the moment the Archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would conceive the son of God). Saint Maurice is dressed in armour: he was a Roman soldier. He led his legion to convert to Christianity, and they were all martyred for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods. Maurice was often shown with Saint Exuperius, a member of the same legion, who features at the centre of the left-hand panel. The scholar Saint Augustine is on the right, holding a heart pierced by an arrow. This is a reference to his writings, in which he described how God had pierced his heart with the arrow of his love.

Key facts
Artist Circle of Master of Liesborn
Artist dates active second half of the 15th century
Full title Saints Gregory, Maurice and Augustine
Series Two Shutters from an Altarpiece
Date made about 1465-90
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 120 x 67.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG255
Location in Gallery Room 65
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Two Shutters from an Altarpiece

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These two panels once formed the shutters of an altarpiece in the Benedictine abbey in Liesborn, a town in the north-western German region of Westphalia. Placed on either side of the centrepiece, the shutters would protect and conceal it when closed.

The artist’s identity is unknown, but he has been named after the altarpiece that he made for the high altar of the same church. Several fragments of the high altarpiece are in the National Gallery’s collection.

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