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Peter Breuer, Saint Catherine on the winged altar of Vielau

1514, Frame made of spruce wood, figures made of lime wood, painted, gilded, 150.5 x 253 x 23 cm, indicated at the figure’s back at the left wing: WP perter Bräuer 150X4 jar; at the figure’s back at the right wing: perter Brayer
Inv. no. L/V/65/5/K3, from Vielau Church, Zwickau county, loaned by Protestant Church Peter Paul Reinsdorf

The Vielau altar retable is considered one of the main works created by Zwickau artist Peter Breuer and one of his high-quality artworks of his later years. Its creation date is considered verified due to an inscription: We can find the date behind the figures of the altar’s wings. A vertical character is interpreted as a possible hint for one year more. The paintings on the back of the wings were created by the so-called ‘Maler der Verkündigungen’ (painter of proclamations) working as a fellow in Breuer’s workshop between 1506 and 1521. The figures situated on the main panel – Maria between the apostles Peter and Paul, both patron saints of the Vielau Church – are standing on consoles on top of an end-to-end pedestal, showing their names in golden writing. The crowned Madonna figure is portrayed as Woman of the Apocalypse in front of a golden halo and presents Baby Jesus who is portrayed quite lively. Peter is located to her right and Paul to the left of Madonna. The side wings show two holy figures: Catherine at the left and Barbara at the right. These both are slightly larger than the figures on the main panel. Their elegant garment is noticeable and refers to the fashion in those days, for example Catherine’s bonnet.


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