Attributed to Ambrosius Benson
- Ambrosius Benson
- Madonna and Child
- oil on panel
- 16 3/4 by 12 3/4 in.; 42.5 by 32.4 cm.
Thence by descent.
Benson's style evolved in Bruges amidst a highly developed and collaborative artistic environment. He is recorded there as early as 1518, when he entered Gerard David’s studio, which served as the training ground and source of inspiration for a plethora of painters who formed part of a great generation of Bruges artists. Contemporaneously with his main competitor, Adriaen Isenbrandt, Benson rose to European prominence alongside a number of successful painters, including Jan Provost, Albrecht Cornelis and Lancelot Blondeel, among others.
The composition of this specific Virgin and Child, in which the Christ Child wears a white garment and holds a sprig of flowers, appears to derive more closely from a group of works associated with Joos van Cleve and his workshop.1 Ultimately, though, the prime source for the figural group originates from Gerard David’s Rest on the Flight Into Egypt (Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02643).
IRR examination of this panel (fig. 1) not only illustrates a beautiful and well-articulated preparatory underdrawing for the Virgin and Child, but also shows a looser reworking of the still-life elements in the lower right foreground.
1. See J. O. Hand, Joos van Cleve, New Haven 2004, pp. 176-177, cat. nos. 101.1-101.9.