SCHOOL OF BRUGES, FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY | The Virgin and Child | 布魯日畫派，十六世紀上半葉 |《聖母與聖嬰》
Property from a Spanish Private Collection
SCHOOL OF BRUGES, FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY
The Virgin and Child
oil and gold on panel
37.7 x 26.4 cm.; 14⅞ x 10⅜ in.
37.7 x 26.4公分；14 7/8 x 10 3/8英寸
The panel is flat and gently supported on the reverse by a single wooden cross support. There is a very short vertical split I. The far lower right corner, with some retouching on its surface.
The painting itself is in a near perfect state of preservation, the finest and most delicate details, such as the transparent veil covering the Christ child, having survived with seemingly no wear or damage. The gold background is original, the artist having painted a few errant strands of hair over the top of it.
Inspection under UV reveals only a tiny number of spot retouchings, and some restored damage, probably caused by frame abrasion, at the very top.
Sold with a later gilt frame
"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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
By family tradition, said to have been acquired by the present owner’s grandfather from Felix Boix Merino (1858–1932);
Thence by inheritance.
The design of this charming and extremely popular composition probably goes back to a lost fifteenth-century original by the great Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden (1400–1464) in which the Virgin and Child sit at full-length in an elegant loggia. Its appearance is recorded by early copies from the fifteenth century, most notably a chalk drawing in Dresden once ascribed to Rogier himself (fig. 1), and in painted form in the Epitaph of Gräfin Johanna von Horne formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin.1 The design was picked up by Rogier's followers in the southern Netherlands in Brussels and elsewhere, but was especially popular in Bruges. By far the most numerous and popular examples of this last group were the variants at half-length developed there in the early sixteenth century in the workshops of Adriaen Isenbrandt and Ambrosius Benson (1495–1550), in which the Virgin is typically clothed in red and the figures set against a dark neutral background. Many of these, such as the present panel, were painted in reverse of Van der Weyden's original design.2
The present painting is a particularly fine example of the composition and is in an extraordinary state of preservation. In its detailed and finished style it recalls that of Isenbrandt's presumed master, the great Gerard David (1460–1523). It differs from most other versions in its smaller dimensions and gold background, which suggest that it was intended as an intimate and precious object for personal veneration.3 Its evidently high quality and its history suggest that it may originally have been intended for a Spanish patron in the Netherlands or else for export to Spain, with which Bruges maintained particularly close trading links in the first half of the sixteenth century. Although of larger dimensions, another such picture of similarly high quality, for example, which Friedländer attributed to Isenbrandt himself, is today in the Provincial Museum in Zaragoza.4 The latter is signed with the monogram GB, probably that of Guillaume Benson (1521/2–1574), the eldest son of Ambrosius Benson.5
1 D. de Vos, Rogier van der Weyden, Munich 1999, pp. 358–59, nos B5 and B5a, both reproduced. Another early copy is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Tournai.
2 Two good examples of this pattern are today in the Groeninge Museum in Bruges. For the most comprehensive summary of this type see D. de Vos, 'De Madonna-en-Kindtypologie bij Rogier van der Weyden en enkele minder gekende Flemalleske voorlopers', in Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 13, 1971, pp. 146–48, figs 79–81. The author lists no less than seventy-two recorded copies.
3 One other work of comparable size (33 x 26 cm.) is recorded in the collection of Samuel Hartveld in Antwerp in 1934 (RKD file). The majority of variants on this pattern produced in Bruges were typically around 90 x 60 cm. or 106 x 75 cm.
4 Inv. no. 231. Canvas 90 x 60 cm.; see De Vos 1971, p. 147, no. 38; M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, vol. XI, Leiden and Brussels 1974, p. 89, no. 190a, plate 140 (as Isenbrandt).
5 See C. Virdis Limentani, 'Early Netherlandish Devotional images, their copies and their Metamorphosis in Aragonese culture through peripheral Areas', in Making Copies in European Art, Brill Studies on Art, Art History and Intellectual History, vol. 286/30, 2018, p. 428, fig. 14.1, https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004379596/BP000025.xml?rskey=F32vy3&result=1, accessed 21 October 2019.