Lot 9
  • 9


40,000 - 60,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Virgin and Child
  • Oil on panel 
  • 40 x 31,3 cm; 15 3/4   by 12 1/4   in.


Private collection since mid-19th century, Belgium.

Catalogue Note

The Master of the Louvre Madonna is a name traditionally given to the painter whose identity has been lost over the course of the centuries and to whom is attributed a series of Madonnas stylistically close to a work in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. RF.46). As well as the different Tüchlein (or canvases painted with distemper) successively inventoried in the respective studies of Ludwig von Baldass and Didier Martens [1], Diane Wolfthal [2] mentioned in 1989 the existence of three panels, to which our version will need to be added to complete the corpus. In this example, the Virgin suckles the Child according to an iconography that hews mostly to tradition, except that she is surrounded by stylised flames, evoking the 'woman clothed in the sun' of the Apocalypse (12:1) [3]. As is often the case in Flemish painting, the painter has included a trompe-l'oeil niche, giving greater depth to the composition, as well as a gold ground typical of private devotional paintings. The Child turns toward His mother, with a gentle gaze, and is preparing to suckle, whereas in other related versions, such as the one at Hampton Court in London, he turns his head away.

The two inscriptions in Gothic lettering, one in black: 'Ave regina celoru[m], ave d[o]m[in]a angeloru[m], salve radix sancta ex qua mondo lux est orta' ('Hail, Queen of Heaven, Hail, Queen of the angels, Hail, root and gate through which the light rises over the world') and the other in red on the slope: 'Beata es maria q[ui/uae] Dominum [?] portasti / creatore[m] genuisti eum qui /te fecit et in [a]eternu[m] p[e]rmanes v[ir]go' ('Blessed art thou, O Mary mother of God, who has borne the Creator of all things. Thou hast presented thyself to Him and thou shalt remain a Virgin forever'), were, in the first case, an antiphon to the Virgin with which clerics ended the Office of the Breviary during Lent, and in the second, a prayer recited on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. These inscriptions bring the work close to that of the Master of the Order of the Immaculate Conception and may attest to his paintings and Tüchlein being 'souvenirs' sold to pilgrims (which was, in any case, Max J. Friedländer's theory [4]).

Stylistically, our painting can be dated to the first quarter of the 16th century, the period of the painter's activity. Our devotional panel is therefore of definite interest since, on the one hand, it has proven to be a new example of high quality attributable to the group identified with the Master of the Louvre Madonna, and on the other hand, because it stands out as having been done on panel, rarer than those on canvas.



[1] L. von Baldass, « Ein Madonnentüchlein aus der Nähe des Quinten Metsys », Mélanges Hulin de Loo, Bruxelles/Paris, 1931, pp. 31-32 ; D. Martens, « A propos d'un 'tüchlein' flamand du XVIe siècle conservé au Louvre », La Revue du Louvre et des Musées de France, décembre 1986, n° 6, pp. 394-402.
[2] D. Wolfthal, The Beginnings of Netherlandish Canvas Paintings: 1400-1530, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 80-82.
[3] D. Martens, « Un Tüchlein flamand de la Renaissance au château de Peralada et le Maître de la Madone (RF 46 du Louvre) », LOCVS AMŒNVS, 6, 2002-2003, pp. 115-128.
[4] L. Cust, « Notes on Pictures in the Royal Collections, X. Franco-Flemish School: Divine Mother », The Burlington Magazine, XI, 1907, p. 232.