“Bird Cell Beneficiary,” Matthias Grunewald – overview

“Bird Cell Beneficiary,” Matthias Grunewald – overview
“Bird Cell Beneficiary,” Matthias Grunewald - overview - 1

  • Posted by Matthias Grunewald
  • Museum: Museum of Fine Arts, Strasbourg
  • Year: 1500

Overview of the painting :

Bird Cage Beneficiary – Matthias Grunewald. 1500.

   Matthias Grunewald as a person, unfortunately, was lost in the half-thousandth of his death. His paintings were attributed to Albrecht Dührer, then to other less famous contemporaries. Only in the 19th century did art rediscover the name of the brightest German painter of the North Renaissance, and studies of the 2000s brought some specificity to his biography. Researchers on grains, on the smallest fragments and testimonies began to “collect” the appearance and life path of the artist. Some clues provided us with paintings that were not so much preserved.

   Basically, Grunewald turned to religious plots, a number of his portraits made in drawing technique were also preserved. “Brave cell” is a rare, almost “secular” work of the master. Very little information has been preserved about the circumstances of the creation of the picture, so art historians call it exclusively by what is shown on the canvas.

   It is believed that the time of writing the picture is 1500. Sure, Grunewald wrote a portrait, but who specifically spoke as a customer is unknown. On black clothes with a characteristic standing gate, we can assume that we are facing a certain representative of the clergy. It is known reliably that some of the works of Grunewald were ordered by the young archbishop Albrecht of Brandenburg. But nothing tells the viewer that it is he. Therefore, the researchers of Grunewald’s creativity decided to simply baptize him as a “Blessor”. In his hands he holds a miniature pence and a book, most likely spiritual content.

   The second significant element of the composition is the bird cell located by the master in the upper right corner. Through frequent ribs of the gratings you can notice the bird. It looks like this is a songbird, which was considered in Europe the best bird “with a voice” (like our nightingale).

   Grunewald chose a calm color color for the presented work. You may notice that in his other works there are much more contrasting color combinations. The general colors were brown in all its shades and red. Color contrast creates black cassock.

   The style of writing of the master is distinguished by expressiveness and reliability. We can notice small neat smears, filigree drawing of parts (beneficiary’s face, hair, hands, bricklaying of the wall, etc.d.).

   Today, the picture is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Strasbourg.