Lot 9
  • 9


40,000 - 60,000 EUR
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  • 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.


A l’œil nu : Le tableau a plus de profondeur que dans la reproduction photographique du catalogue. Le tableau se présente dans un état de conservation très satisfaisant. Il est peint sur un panneau de chêne d’une planche non parquetée. Le panneau est biseauté sur 3 de ses côtés. Nous remarquons deux pièces en bois servant de renforcement dans le coin inférieur droit probablement en raison d’une ancienne fente. A la lumière rasante, nous remarquons de jolis empattements. De plus, on remarque un réseau de craquelures fines et serrées. De très légers repeints sont visibles au niveau de la joue droite. La matière picturale semble bien préservée. A la lampe U.V. : On remarque les délicates reprises au niveau des craquelures, au niveau de la joue, mais aussi dans le cou, à droite. Le contour de la chevelure de la Vierge et du menton de l’Enfant ont été délicatement repris. Vendu dans un cadre moderne de style ancien. With the naked eye: The actual painting shows more depth than appears in the catalogue’s illustration. The painting seems to be in a very good condition overall. It is painted on a single piece of oak panel which is not cradled. The panel is bevelled on three edges. We see two wooden batons attached to the reverse which are probably used to protect the panel from an old crack located in the lower-right edge. Observed with raking light, we notice fine impastos and a nice network of small tight cracks. Some minor retouching is visible on the right cheek. The painted surface seems to be well preserved. Inspection underneath U.V. light: We notice some minor retouching on the craquelures, the cheek, and also on the right of the neck. The contour of the Virgin’s hair and the Child’s chin seems to have been carefully restored. Sold with a modern frame of an ancient style.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

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.