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This triptych, which was painted sometime around 1442 by the Cologne-based artist Stefan Lochner (d.1451) for Cologne’s city council chapel, is the most significant example of the Late Gothic Cologne school of painting. The altar-piece was hidden from French revolutionary troops in 1794. Following the deconsecration of the chapel in 1810, the altar-piece was transferred to the cathedral at the instigation of the Cologne scholar, clergyman, and art collector F. F. Wallraf. Today, it is the dominant feature of the Lady Chapel and decorates the altar there. In view of the fact that mass is said in the Lady Chapel every day, this altar-piece is in daily liturgical use. To this day, the wings of the altar-piece are closed during Advent and Lent.
Dr. Rolf Lauer, Kunsthistoriker