Netherlandish School, 16th century
The Virgin with the Sleeping Christ Child
Oil on panel (parquetted). 58.5 x 41 cm.
This picture of the Madonna cradling the sleeping Christ was created as an object of private devotion, for which there was considerable demand in Flanders from the early 16th century onwards. The charming composition, characterised by the tender relationship between Mother and Child, appears in a similar form in the œuvres of Quentin Matsys and Joos van Cleve, which testifies to the popularity of the motif. The present version can be tentatively attributed to the “Master with the Parrot”, a notname given to the anonymous artist by Max Friedländer (cf. Max J. Friedländer: Der Meister mit dem Papagei, in: Phoebus 2, 1948/49, p. 49ff.). Newer research has brought the works collected under this name into connection with a group of unknown Flemish artists who may have led a workshop in Antwerp during the 1520s and 1530s. The curved form of the panel is typical of the Master with the Parrot. The close up depiction of the Virgin in a confined pictorial field in which the background is reduced to the schematic portrayal of a green curtain allows for a more direct exchange between the viewer and the object of their adoration.