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Painters in southern German and Austria collaborated with sculptors to produce spectacular large altarpieces with moveable shutters. One of the greatest specialists in such work was Michael Pacher from the Tyrol. The small devotional painting of the Virgin and Saints attributed to him reflects the daring illusionistic effects he achieved in large-scale altarpieces.

Working in Nuremberg from the end of the 15th century, Albrecht Dürer undertook the traditional range of work, including the large painting of the Virgin probably produced under his supervision, and small devotional paintings such as the Saint Jerome. Its extraordinary sympathy for the natural landscape and spectacularly imaginative reverse demonstrates the extent of Dürer’s innovations as a painter. Dürer was also a successful portraitist, extending the tradition of elegantly designed and psychologically acute representations exemplified here by the portraits of a woman of the Hofer family and of Alexander Mornauer.