Master M. S.
was a 16th century painter who specialized in late Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...
and in early Renaissance art.
He was active in Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica is a town in central Slovakia, in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For its size, the caldera is known as Štiavnica Mountains. Banská Štiavnica has a population of more than 10,000. It is a completely preserved medieval town...
(to 1920 Selmecbánya in Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...
, since 1993 in Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...
) and probably led a workshop there. Since his true name is unknown, he is sometimes identified with various other Gothic "masters". German art historians generally identify him with J. Brieu, a painter from Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...
. Also some art historians identify him with Master M. Z. (also mentioned as Matthäus Zaisinger (1498–1555)) German engraver and goldsmith from Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...
. According to the new research the anonym master is very likely to have been a Hungarian painter called Sebestyén
Sebestyén :* Sebestyén "Lantos" Tinódi , a 16th century Hungarian lyricist, epic poet, political historian- Family name :* Béla Sebestyén , a Hungarian international footballer...
, whose name is mentioned in the charter of Banská Štiavnica in 1507. His art combining dramatic depth and colourful decorative formation is akin to that of the German painters Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer was a German engraver and painter. He was the most important German printmaker before Albrecht Dürer....
, Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...
, J. Brieu and mainly Mathias Grünewald.
Only seven of his panel paintings are known out of eight which used to decorate the high altar of a church in Banská Štiavnica. It was believed that the altar was in the Saint Catherine Church, but according to the new research the pictures were part of the altar in the Virgin Mary Church, later rebuilt into the fortress called the Old Castle. Now there are four Passion paintings in Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....
,Hungary, in the Christian Museum
The Christian Museum is the largest ecclesiastical collection in Hungary; it conserves European and Hungarian works of art from the period between the 13th and 19th centuries....
; the painting "The Birth of Christ" is held in Svätý Anton
Svätý Anton is a village in Banská Štiavnica District in the Banská Bystrica Region of central Slovakia. It is situated near the historic town of Banská Štiavnica. During the period of Communist Czechoslovakia, the village had to use a "non-religious" name Antol...
(formerly known also as Hontszentantal) near Banská Štiavnica, and The Adoration of the Magi is in the Museum of Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
. His best painting entitled "The Visitation" depicts the meeting of the two saints, the Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, is in Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...
, in the Hungarian National Gallery
The Hungarian National Gallery , was established in 1957 as the national art museum. It is located in Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary. Its collections cover Hungarian art in all genres, including the many twentieth-century Hungarian artists who worked in Paris and other locations in the West...
There are also three more-than-life-size wood-carved polychromed sculptures preserved which originally belong to the same altar. The statue of Madonna
Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...
is in the Saint Catherine Church of Banská Štiavnica, the statues of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara are in the art gallery of the Slovak Mining Museum in Banská Štiavnica.
At the Old Castle in Banská Štiavnica, a half-sized maquette of the altar is exhibited, featuring full-coloured photocopies of all the known panel paintings by Master MS, as well as fragments of decorative wood carvings which presumably were parts of the altar.
Books and articles about Master MS
Meister M. S. / Genthon István
Berlin : 1932
450 Jahre Meister M. S. / Radocsay Dénes
Budapest : 1957
M.S. mester passióképei az esztergomi Keresztény Múzeumban / Mojzer Miklós
Budapest : Magyar Helikon : Corvina Kiadó Vállalat, 1976
"Magnificat anima mea Dominum" M S Mester Vizitáció-képe és egykori selmecbányai főoltára . Kiállítási katalógus
Budapest : Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, 1997
Eörsi Anna: "Gemartert ward under Poncio Pylato."
Megjegyzések M S mester Kálváriájának ikonográfiájához.
Művészettörténeti Értesítő XLVII. 1998, 199-213. oldal
Mojzer Miklós: Tanulmányok a Keresztény Múzeumban II. : M. S. mester zászlai
Művészettörténeti Értesítő 1965
Végh János: "Magnificat anima mea Dominum"
M S mester Vizitáció-képe és egykori selmecbányai főoltára
Új Művészet, VIII. évf. 10-11. sz. 1997. október-November, 20-22. oldal