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  • 1 Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, H-1014, Budapest, Pf. 31.
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Abstract

Sive Marten Swarcz seu Martinus Niger alias Marcin Czarny, master of Veit Stoss's Cracow high altar – this is the subtitle of Miklós Mojzer's major two-part study published in 2006 and 2008 in which he identified Master MS and traced the roots of his work to Veit Stoss's Nuremberg and Cracow workshops. He mentioned in passing that at the very same time, in the 1480s, another winged altarpiece was being made in another important town of Frankonia, Rothenburg on the frame of which the following inscription can be read: Frater Martinus Schwartz die Sancte Marie Magdalene complevit. The altarpiece dedicated to the Virgin was once in the monastery of the Dominican nuns in Rothenburg and is now in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. Martin Schwarz was the guardian of the Franciscan monastery in Rothenburg from 1485 where he had his workshop fitted out. He was the local leader of the order until 1506.

Recent researches have proven that some statues carved by Tilman Riemenschneider were painted by Martin Schwarz. The starting point for indentification was the identity of the Pressbrokat on the St John figure of the Wiblingen altarpiece and on the clothes of the Virgin figure of the inscribed altarpiece. The same pattern can be found on the fragment of the attire of the Madonna preserved in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts since 1923. Before the museum, the statue was in an altar shrine (now lost). The history of the altarpiece can be retraced with certainty to the village church of Schweinsdorf outside Rothenburg, but tradition associates it with the neighbouring imperial town.

Among the rich documentation on the furnishing of the Jakobskirche mention is made of an altar of the Virgin erected in 1495/96, which was carved by a sculptor of Würzburg – obviously Riemenschneider. The question arises whether the statue painted by Martin Schwarz and datable to the end of the 15th century according to the chronology of the Riemenschneider Madonnas belonged to this altar.