Holbein`s Virgin of Mercy
Maria spreads out her cloak...
Almost 500 years ago, Hans Holbein the Younger (*1497 Augsburg – 1543 London) created his masterpiece "The Madonna of Mayor Jacob Meyer zum Hasen" (the so-called "Virgin of Mercy") in Basel. The panel, which is often compared to Raphael's Sistine Madonna, gained global renown for its long and complex origination, Holbein's ingenious and daring visual ideas as well as its highly unusual later fate.
Ending in a semicircle at the top, the panel depicts the Mother of God, with the Christ Child in her arms, standing in a huge scalloped niche. Mary's outspread cloak, identifying her as the Virgin of Mercy, shelters the people kneeling at her feet.
After having been acquired by entrepreneur and collector Reinhold Würth, the majestic Darmstadt Madonna now moves to its new homestead at Schwäbisch Hall's Johanniterkirche. Besides other magnificent masterpieces of the late Middle Ages in the Würth Collection, e.g. by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Tilman Riemenschneider or the Master of Messkirch, Johanniterkirche also houses a work by Hans Holbein the Elder, father of Hans Holbein the Younger. The new Madonna painting finally builds a bridge between the Old Masters and modern times. Without a doubt, the "Virgin of Mercy" is one of the most famous, significant and beautiful Old Masters of the world. Its creator, Hans Holbein the Younger, is counted among the most prominent artists of the 16th century.