Grunewald Matthias is a German artist, after whom very few works remain. Expressionists from Germany began to consider his work the first manifestations of this trend in art, and Grunewald himself - a direct predecessor.
In the history of art, he is considered the last representative of northern Gothic. For many years he was confused with an artist with the same name and surname. In 2000, studies by art critic Karl Arndt appeared, convincingly proving that in fact the masters were called Gotthart Nithardt. The study is based on the fact that the artist left his signature in the form of the monogram “M.G.N” (Mathis Gothart Nithart) on his works. The name under which he entered the history of art was mistakenly given to him by the biographer Zandrart in his work “The German Academy”. Erroneous attribution has been preserved to this day and continues to be used, since this talented master is associated with this very name, which belongs to a completely different person.
Of the creative heritage of the master to this day, only ten works have survived. But even from them one can judge the high level of the artist’s skill and a special gift. He managed to incredibly expressively and expressively reflect the mystical spiritualism characteristic of the late Middle Ages in Germany. It was these features that, after several centuries, attracted representatives of a new trend - expressionism - in the work of the German artist.
In the light of the latest data on the personality of the artist, more details about his personality, life and work became known. According to the surviving documents, it can be judged that this person belonged to the intelligentsia, was well versed in philosophy, religion and social sciences. He witnessed the bloody events of a very cruel era, which could not but affect his idea of the world and man, was reflected in the work.
The main piece of the surviving master is considered the “Isengheim Altar”. For many centuries, this work was considered the work of the famous Albrecht Dürer, as well as another famous painting - “Stuppach Madonna” - was considered the work of Peter Paul Rubens. The very fact that the works of Matthias Grunewald, or rather Gotthart Nithardt, were considered to be created by such great artists, suggests that his skill was in no way inferior to their ability to handle brushes and paints.
Another remarkable work is the painting “The Scolding of Christ”, which is based on biblical history that is rarely used in medieval painting. According to the Bible, after Judas betrayed Jesus Christ and was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was brought to the house of the Jewish high priest Kayyafa. Ministers and guards, considering Christ a mad prophet, mocked him throughout the night. They beat Christ bound and blindfolded with eyes in the face of Christ, demanding that the attacker be identified. For the artist, this fragment of religious tradition became the quintessence of abuse of the human body, will and spirit.
This is a multi-figure composition in which only Christ is in a static pose. He sits and humbly takes blows, praying for the souls of the villains. The remaining figures are depicted in motion, with virtually no background. They fill the entire canvas, as if protruding from the thick black darkness.
The return to our day of such a significant master opens up a lot of new things in the history of art that was previously forgotten or not well studied.