Stein Quadriptych

Description

The Stein Quadriptych was likely created in Bruges in about 1525‒30, possibly for Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, and it has been attributed to Simon Bening and associates. This collection of 64 miniatures on parchment is mounted on paper and fixed to four panels, each in sets of 16 miniatures per panel. Each miniature is 6.8 by 5.2 centimeters. The earliest known owner of the collection, until 1886, was Charles Stein, and the ensemble of miniatures was first cited in scholarly literature as the Stein Quadriptych. The miniatures appear to have been dismantled at some point and then reassembled in the four panels held in 19th-century gilt frames. No texts have been found on the backs of these miniatures by the conservation department of the Walters Art Museum. However, because it was normal practice for illuminated folios to be inserted into South Netherlandish prayer books without accompanying text on the back, the lack of textual evidence does not rule out the possibility that these miniatures were once part of a prayer book. Based on formal visual analysis and the use of color, however, these 64 miniatures appear to have been meant to be viewed as an ensemble. The recitation of prayers from a book or from memory may have been intended while the suppliant viewed the sequence in private devotion.

Last updated: April 17, 2017