The Ascension of Christ
Panel from the inner side of the right wing of the high altar church from the curch of St. Lambert in Hildesheim

Meister des Hildesheimer Lambertialtars (tätig um 1420)

ca. 1420
Tempera on oak
Height: 67 cm
Width: 61.5 cm
Inventory Number
Dr. Clemens Sels Collection

The altarpiece is a significant work in the style known as International Gothic and was made by an unknown master. The two wings, which were only opened on holidays, showed four scenes of the Passion, from Last Supper to Judgment Day. These ornate panels include the “Ascension of Christ". The depiction of Christ disappearing in a cloud before the eyes of Mary and the Apostles may seem strange today, but it was a treatment of this theme that had been common since the High Middle Ages. In contrast, the panel “Saul's Departure from the High Council” that was visible when the altarpiece was closed on normal workdays shows an unusual scene from the life of St. Paul. Before his transformation into Paul and conversion to Christianity, the devout Jew Saul receives from the High Priest the sealed letters with the names of the members of the Christian community in Damascus whom he is charged with arresting and bringing to Jerusalem. The fact that he is mounted on horseback as he takes the documents shows his determination to immediately persecute the hated Christians.
Although the artist does not succeed in opening up the picture to the actual space of the viewer, the artfully interlaced architecture of the picture and the careful, contrast-rich coloration remain fascinating to this day.


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