South German (active ca. 1485-1520)
Oil and tempera on panel
Medieval Christians viewed the Last Judgment in both cosmic and intensely personal terms, as the climactic moment of human history-the end of the world and time-and the terrifying instant when their own souls would be judged by Christ. A follower of the German painter Michael Pacher, Marx Reichlich followed long-established pictorial tradition in his Last Judgment, presenting Christ seated upon his rainbow throne, flanked by trumpeting angels who awaken the dead to judgment. Christ is attended by the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist, who prayerfully intercede on mankind's behalf. The stalk of lilies and sword flanking Christ's head allude to the dual nature of his judgment, symbolizing divine mercy on the one hand (his compassionate acceptance of all righteous souls), and divine justice on the other (his swift dispatch of the wicked).