Visitation of the Virgin Mary with St. Elizabeth

Moravia, last quarter of the 15th century | Tempera and gilding on wooden panel | Deposited in the Moravian Gallery between 1956 and 1996.

The panel painting of the Visitation depicts a scene from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:40-56), which was a common part of Marian cycles. The pregnant Virgin Mary meets her relative Elizabeth, who, despite her advanced age, has conceived St. John the Baptist. The action takes place in a schematically conceived rocky landscape, where the relationship between the two saints is expressed through subtle artistic abbreviations. St. John the Baptist, who was seen as the forerunner of Christ, kneels in his mother’s womb to receive Christ’s blessing. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! How have I merited that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” The central couple is accompanied by two other women. More often, however, Elizabeth is accompanied by her husband Zechariah and Mary by Joseph in pilgrim’s clothing. The anonymous painter drew inspiration for his work from the graphic sheet of the Monogramist E. S. The engraver probably also worked as a goldsmith, seal cutter, and mintmaster. The painting was created in the period after the Hussite Wars, which is also evident from the less precise decoration of the paintings’ and sculptures’ plated surfaces, which contrasts with the tradition of beautiful style associated with pre-Hussite Bohemia.