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Glory and Luxury in Tallinn: The Altarpiece of St Mary (2022–2027)

The research and conservation project Glory and Luxury in Tallinn: The Altarpiece of St Mary will focus on the Netherlandish masterpiece from the Late Middle Ages, which was made at the end of the 15th century in the workshop of the anonymous Bruges Master of the St Lucy Legend.

The Altarpiece of the Virgin Mary of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads probably reached Tallinn in 1493 as a joint commission by the Great Guild and the Brotherhood of the Black Heads merchants’ associations.

The altarpiece apparently adorned the altar of the Virgin Mary in the Dominican St Catherine’s Church, and was located in the chapel belonging to the Black Heads.
The project has two major objectives. It will focus primarily on technical research, such as pigment analyses, roentgenographic and near-infrared photography, and ultraviolet fluorescence analysis. Based on the analyses, it will be possible to create prerequisites for the conservation of the work, which is the main objective of the entire project. Technical research will be combined with art historical information, resulting in a comprehensive understanding of the work of art. The international project will involve experts from Europe and the USA. We will cooperate with European and American museums holding works attributed to the Master of the St Lucy Legend.

Project coordinator 

Art Museum of Estonia 

Partners 

Groeningemuseum, Bruges
University of Tartu
Technischse Universität Dortmund
Universidad Complutense de Madrid