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The Mass of Saint Hubert: Right Hand Shutter
Workshop of the Master of the Life of the Virgin
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This panel once decorated the inner face of the right-hand shutter of an altarpiece made for the Benedictine abbey in Werden, near Cologne. An earlier episode of the saint’s life – the moment of his conversion to Christianity – appeared on the left-hand shutter.

After his conversion, Hubert devoted himself to his faith, and this scene shows him being consecrated as Bishop of Liège. An angel appears before him with a stole (part of the liturgical dress of a bishop, worn around the neck). Behind, a deacon holds a mitre (hat) and a crosier (an ornamental crook), which were only worn by bishops.

A relief sculpture of God the Father enthroned forms the central part of the gilded altarpiece, overseeing the ceremony. He is flanked on either side by Saints Peter and Paul, significant here for their role in spreading the word of Christ as the Church’s first apostles – perhaps a reference to Hubert’s own life of preaching.

Key facts
Artist Workshop of the Master of the Life of the Virgin
Artist dates active second half of the 15th century
Full title The Mass of Saint Hubert: Right Hand Shutter
Series Two Shutters from the Werden Altarpiece
Date made probably 1485-90
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 123.2 x 83.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG253
Location in Gallery Room 62
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Two Shutters from the Werden Altarpiece

These paintings once formed the shutters of an altarpiece made for the Benedictine abbey at Werden, near Cologne in Germany. The shutters were decorated on both sides, and could be closed to protect the central part of the altarpiece, which has not been traced.

The inner and outer faces have been separated, creating four panels out of two. The inner faces, which would have been visible when the shutters were open, show events from the life of Saint Hubert. The outer faces each show four standing saints, including Saint Hubert and Saint Benedict, as well as other members of the Benedictine Order.

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