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    St. Stephen's Cathedral

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    The Wiener Neustadt Altar

    The Wiener Neustadt altar is a so-called pentaptych, a winged-altar with a main shrine and 2 moveable inner side panels and 2 moveable outer side panels. The shrine is furnished with sculptures, the fronts of the inner panels are decorated with reliefs and the remaining panels are adorned with paintings. The carvings are partly coloured, partly gilded. It is a Marian and Saint retable. A retable is a decorative screen mounted directly onto an altar or on the wall behind it. The Wiener Neustadt altar is a gift from King Frederick IV (later Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor) to the church of the Cistercian monastery in Neukloster, Wiener Neustadt. For this reason it’s also known as Frederick’s altar. On the predella, or bottom tier of the altarpiece, there’s an inscription in duplicate: 1447 A.E.I.O.U., Frederick’s own slogan. The date 1447 makes this altar the oldest surviving double-winged altar in Austria. The retable, with its shrine architecture, sculptures and paintings, was probably made in Wiener Neustadt in around 1447.