Marcellus Coffermans, Holy family with an angel


(Active in Antwerp, 1549 – 1578)

Holy family with an angel

Oil on panel, 97 x 74.6 cm


Flemish painter, author of “cabinet” paintings and folding icons featuring religious scenes. He lived and worked in Antwerp in the middle of the 16th century. In 1554 the painter became a master of the Guild of St. Luke. The dated works by this artist originate from the years 1560 – 1570. Coffermans had a large and flourishing workshop. Apart from his own paintings he made scaled-down copies of the works of earlier painters of the Low Countries, including Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden, Martin Schongauer.

This painting was almost certainly one the works painted by Coffermans by an order of a Spanish client. Grapes that can be seen in the picture are very common in the iconography of biblical scenes. According to the medieval tradition grapes have a symbolic meaning, referring to the future passion of Christ originating from the meaning of wine as a Eucharistic element – the blood of Christ, as mentioned at the Last Supper. Besides the painting’s subject matter conveying human values, attention must be paid to the technical virtuosity of the author, to the beautifully painted perspective views of nature, characterized by harmonious lines and gradation of shades, creating sensitive panoramic distances. It is very likely that the composition won a great appeal in Spain as the artist has created several versions of the work which differ only by the background and colour of the characters’ clothing, and that can be found in the Convent of Descalzas Reales, the Carmelitas de Salamanca, the Hospital de Medina del Campo, the parochial church of Elgueta and the Martinez Colon collection in the Puerto de Santa Maria de Cadiz, to name but a few. According to the experts, it is this version of the painting that is one of the best of the numerous ones that the author ever created.

Condition report:

The painting is in excellent condition.


Important private collection, Zürich, Switzerland


Exhibition’s catalogue “Art Rules”, Tallinn, 2015

Kunstberatung Zurich. Old masters and Modern art catalogue: private treasures, Zurich, 2019


Exhibition “Art Rules” organized by Art-Life Project in Tallinn Town Hall, 5 June 2015 – 5 October 2015, Estonia

Other Artworks

Did you like this? Share it!

libero amet, velit, Praesent accumsan ultricies id mattis dapibus et, risus