Art: The Greatest German?

Who was Germany's greatest painter? Half a century ago, the title would have been disputed among Albrecht Diirer, Lucas Cranach and Hans Holbein the Younger. Now Nikolaus Pevsner, German-born head of the History of Art Department at London University's Birkbeck College, unhesitatingly comes out for the 16th century Gothic master whom critics have long called Matthias Griinewald.

In a new comprehensive study of Griinewald (Abrams; $15), Critic Pevsner reproduces all that has been definitely identified as the painter's work, a mere 38 sketches and the whole or parts of ten altarpieces, including the...

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