The Martyrdoms of the Apostles

Mixed technique on walnut
Inv. No. 821–832

40 × 40 cm

zur  Biographie

left wing: The Martyrdoms of Sts. Peter, Paul, Andrew, John the Evangelist, James the Greater and Bartholomew

right wing: The Martyrdoms of Sts. Thomas, Phillip, James the Less, Matthew, Simon, Judas and Matthias


Lochner is the most prominent painter of fifteenth-century Cologne. These altar wings came from the Church of St. Lawrence in Cologne; their reverse sides are now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The paintings in Munich and Frankfurt probably once flanked Lochner’s famous Last Judgment in Cologne’s Wallraf Richartz Museum. Lochner’s ingenious compositional staging comes to bear in these scenes, as does his sense of realism down to the smallest detail – which, in the case of the martyrdoms, includes evidence of shocking cruelty: The tormentors flay Bartholomew, who is chained to a bench, with profound expertise while their commander holds a vessel in readiness to sprinkle salt in his wounds.

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