Altar of the Holy Kinship
Polychromed and gilded wood
Carved in Saxony between 1510 and 1520, the Altar of the Holy Kinship is playful and dramatic in appearance. Brightly colored and set against a background of tooled gold leaf, the figures are lively and quick. A sprightly toddler Jesus, arms akimbo, balances precariously between the laps of his mother, Mary, and his grandmother, Anne. Christ's followers, including young apostles, cavort along the lower edges of the altar, sometimes to almost comic effect. While one woman breastfeeds, a young child sits on the floor, happily drinking from what appears to be a beer stein.