Death of St. Clare


This panel formed part a diptych, likely made for the aristocratic convent of Poor Clares in Vienna, and probably used in Masses for the dead. Depicted at the moment of her death and surrounded by female saints, St. Clare is compared to the Virgin Mary, whose death forms the subject of the second panel. In addition to the saints, two nuns are shown below in prayer. In its mannered delicacy and decorative brilliance, the panel represents the cosmopolitan court styles that marked the turn of the century, not only in Paris and Prague but also in Vienna. In addition to the punchwork that enlivens the gold ground, the painting includes striking passages in which colored varnishes emulate textile patterns.

Death of St. Clare
Master of Heiligenkreuz
Austria, Vienna (?), ca. 1400–1410
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.5.83