Feb 11, 2009

The Mass of Saint Gregory

The Mass of Saint Gregory


Hans Baldung

(German, 1484/85–1545)

Oil and tempera on wood

Framed: 126 x 142.5 x 8.5 cm (49 5/8 x 56 1/8 x 3 3/8 in.); Unframed: 89.2 x 125 cm (35 1/8 x 49 3/16 in.)

Gift of the Hanna Fund 1952.112

Did you know?

Saint Gregory was a 6th-century pope and one of the fathers of the early Roman church. The artist, Hans Baldung, chose to depict the historical legend of Gregory's vision in a scene reminiscent of his own time period, 900 years after this pope actually lived.


Saint Gregory was a late 6th-century pope and one of the fathers of the early Roman Church. This painting depicts the popular legend in which Gregory once overheard an onlooker express doubts about Christ’s actual presence at the altar during mass. In response, the saint’s immense faith was rewarded by a vision of Christ surrounded by the instruments and symbols of his passion. Saint Gregory, vested in his chasuble, kneels in the center, flanked by priests who share his amazement. This painting was part of an altarpiece commissioned by Erhard Künig, a member of a charitable lay order for a monastery near Strassburg. Künig stands at the far right wearing a Maltese cross. The two wings of the altar, showing respectively Saint John the Evangelist and Saint John the Baptist, are in New York and Washington. Hans Baldung was both a painter and a printmaker and is regarded as one of the most gifted students of Albrecht Dürer.

See also
MED - Renaissance
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 

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