This week we are going to study the “Columba Triptych”, Columba Cathedral, Cologne Germany. The Cathedral was first built in 1255 – High Gothic. The altarpiece was placed behind the priest in the cathedral. It is oil on oak panel. The center piece – “The Adoration of the Magi” – is 54″x60″. The sides are 54″x27th. A “triptych” is a 3 piece altarpiece. It can be open or closed.
The left panel – “The Annunciation” – is Gabriel telling Mary she will be the mother of Jesus. The dove symbolizing the dove descending from heaven at the baptism of Christ. The dove represents the Holy Spirit. Mary is at devotion when Gabriel enters her room. There is a small relief of the “Fall of Man” on the side of the devotion table.
The center piece – “The Adoration of the Magi” – Mary is the only person dressed in blue to emphasize her importance. There is a crucifixion above the manger scene. The kings are dressed in ornate clothing. Note the landscape in the background – typical of Early Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of learning – geology, science, anatomy, astronomy etc. In several Renaissance paintings you can notice landscapes in the background due to the study of geology.
The right panel – “The Presentation” – this takes place at the temple 40 days after the birth of Christ. Adam joins Mary along with her assistant holding the basket of doves. The people on the right are Simeon (reaching for Christ) and Anna. The other people are witnesses. Enjoy:)