Isenheim Altarpiece-1943
by  Milton M. Weiser

A 20th century rendition of the 1512 Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald
Grunewald's nine paintings decorated the altar of the Antonite Monas-tary in the village of Isenheim (Alsace-Lorraine). They were considered the roots out of which came modern German Express-ionism  They illustrated most profoundly an intensity of suffering and grief. To me they became the ironic impetus for a representation of the Holocaust. As the Grunewald paintings honor the saints of monasticism, Isenheim Altarpiece-1943 honors the 'saints' who resisted and fought the Holocaust.
Many figures were based on photographs of real people who perished, survived or heroically resisted. In the second triptych an additional theme is the destruction of the rich Yiddish culture of Eastern European Jews. Some scenes are based on photographs taken by Roman Vishniac and published as "A Vanished World." These scenes are interlaced with themes of the original Grunewald Altarpiece and images of the impending conflagration.
All paintings are on 3/8 inch thick birch plywood , 2' X 4' , or 4' X 8'. The Pradella was built by Caleb Basilika  according to my design based on photographs of Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece on display in Colmar, France.
The First Triptych and Predella:
e-mail:weiser@buffalo.edu
crucificxion scene-next page
Predella-page3