Virgin Mary With Infant Jesus, Master of the Madonna from the GROG COLLECTION

The Master of the Madonna from the GROG COLLECTION

Virgin Mary With Infant Jesus

Oil on panel, 73.5x106.5cm


The Master of the Madonna from the Grog Collection is an anonymous painter who is believed to have been active in the southern Netherlands in the early 16th century. He is named after a painting of the Madonna and Child in the Grog Collection in Harvard University.
The Master of the Madonna from the Grog Collection is known for his paintings of religious subjects, which are characterized by their delicate and lyrical style. He is also known for his use of landscape backgrounds, which are often rendered in a detailed and naturalistic manner.
The Master of the Madonna from the Grog Collection’s paintings are often attributed to other artists, such as Jan Gossaert and Gerard David. However, recent scholarship has shown that he was a distinct artist with his own unique style.

Based on the depicted motif and panel format it can be assumed that this triptych, “Virgin Mary With Infant Jesus”  was intended for private prayer in a family chapel in a church, or a house chapel. Based on the masterfulness, harmonious colouring, deep spirituality and lyricism characteristic of the author, the painting is attributed to the artist who is referred to in scientific literature as the Master of the Madonna from the Grog Collection, active in the late 15th century.
On the central panel the Madonna and the child are depicted; the gentle face of the Madonna is lit up by a subtle smile, her eyes are glowing with hidden sadness. The two are painted against masterfully executed panoramic landscape – an evidence of yet another skill of the painter. The Madonna is crowned by angels.
On the left wing the artist has depicted Saint Elizabeth of Hungary who is holding a book and a crown. The beggar at her feet asking for help symbolizes charity – Elizabeth was the patron saint of the leper and outcasts of the society. On the right wing a donator is kneeling at a pedestal that bears the image of heraldic fleur-de-lis.
In the entire Christian art the paintings with Virgin Mary represent the deepest humanly love and compassion, where the image of the Virgin in her motherly and self-sacrificing simplicity acquired divine dimensions. The worship of Madonna Lactans was especially widespread in Italy. In the first half of the 14th century a depiction of the Virgin breastfeeding the infant Jesus could be seen in the churches of Tuscany and Florence. However, the most celebrated image of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the infant Jesus is “Madonna Litta”, traditionally attributed to the great painter and scientist Leonardo da Vinci (1452 — 1519).


Private collection, Switzerland

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