This Annunciation is exceptional for its bird’s-eye view and outdoor setting. Sheltered in the doorway of a church and greeted by Gabriel, Mary is presented not only as the Annunciate, but also as the personification of the church (ecclesia). The architecture, which is part Romanesque (right) and part Gothic (left), refers to the coming of Christ by marking the transition from Judaism to Christianity. Technical evidence, the lack of a horizon, and the oblique angle of the architecture all suggest that the panel is a fragment from a larger composition. Formerly ascribed to Van Eyck, it is probably by Petrus Christus.
This Annunciation departs from conventional depictions in early Netherlandish painting: the outdoor setting, bird’s-eye point of view, and the positioning of the Virgin in a doorway are unusual features. This has led to much scholarly debate, most famously between Erwin Panofsky (1935) and Hermann Beenken (1937), regarding the attribution of the painting. At various points, the work has been ascribed to Jan van Eyck, Hubert van Eyck, and Petrus Christus. As Annunciation scenes of the fifteenth century were usually set in domestic surroundings, the outdoor view initially led some scholars to assign to this painting an early date, more in keeping with the lifetimes of the two Van Eyck brothers. However, the painting demonstrates characteristics of both the Eyckian style and the work of Petrus Christus, and does not neatly fit into the oeuvre of either. While the delicacy and naturalism of the many identifiable plants are familiar from Jan van Eyck’s work, the bulkiness of the cone-shaped figures is more in keeping with Christus’s known paintings.
Further complicating attempts at attribution is the fact that this painting is a fragment of a larger, horizontally-oriented composition. The only original edge is at the right, while the top, bottom, and left edges have been cut (Ainsworth 1994 and 2001). The panels of this painting are arranged horizontally, quite unusual for a vertically-oriented composition. This suggests that the painting may have been quite a bit wider, even as much as twice its current width, and have included other scenes from the life of the Virgin (Ainsworth 1994). The attribution question is also hampered by the condition of the painting, which is abraded, particularly in the faces of the Virgin and Gabriel. Technical examination done for the 1994 exhibition "Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges" indicated that an attribution to Petrus Christus was the most likely. The underdrawing is in a liquid medium, applied with a fine pen or brush in a close network of feathery strokes that is typical of Christus’s known style. Equally characteristic of Christus’s execution are the ruled lines that extend beyond the architectural features that they describe. Finally, dendrochronology performed by Peter Klein (1994) definitively demonstrated that the panel could not have been used until well after Hubert van Eyck’s death in 1426, and is most likely to have fit into the lifetime of Christus, around 1442. Maryan Ainsworth (1994) suggests that this painting is an example of Christus’s early work, possibly under the influence of Jan van Eyck’s designs, and before he had learned one-point perspective.
The solid immobility of the figures as well as the niche-like space in which the Virgin is placed evokes sculpture (Ward 1968). Such a depiction relates to two grisaille Annunciations by Jan van Eyck, from the mid-1430s (one in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, and the other on the exterior wings of the Dresden Triptych in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden). The doorway in which the Virgin stands mixes the older Romanesque style on the right, and the newer Gothic on the left, symbolizing the move from Judaism of the Old Testament to Christianity of the New. The crouching monkey carved on the Romanesque column as a capital may relate to the Fall of Man, and the Virgin’s role as the "new Eve." Above the Virgin’s head is an empty niche, which awaits the figure of the unborn Child, who will link the Old and New Testaments. The doorway in which she stands can also be understood as a spiritual doorway to Heaven, with Mary as the personification of the Church, and an intercessor for humanity. The plants are painted with careful attention to botanical realism, and many carry a symbolic meaning which are intended to enrich the iconography of the scene (see Additional Images, fig. 1, and Sperling 1998). The most obvious is the lily which stands in a vase next to Mary, a traditional symbol of her purity. The inscription on the tiles on the step before the portal reads "Queen of Heaven, rejoice," the Easter antiphon of the Virgin. The greeting from Gabriel, "Ave Maria," is indicated by the letters A and M on the tiles on either side where the Virgin stands.
[Maryan W. Ainsworth 2012]
Inscription: Inscribed (on step): REGINA C[O]ELI L[A]ET[ARE] (Queen of Heaven, rejoice [Easter antiphon of the Virgin].)
Prince of Charleroi (or Charolais); J. J. van Hal, Antwerp (his estate sale, Snyers, Antwerp, August 23, 1836, no. 80, as by Jan van Eyck, for Fr 2,800 to Nieuwenhuys); C. J. Nieuwenhuys, Brussels (1836–at least 1847); Monsieur Parent, Paris (by 1860); his granddaughter, comtesse O'Gorman, Paris (probably until 1926; sold to Allen Loebl); [Allen Loebl, Paris, 1926; sold to Lehman]; Philip Lehman, New York (1926; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, New York, 1926; sold for $65,000 to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1926–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Flemish Primitives," 1929, no. 3 (lent by Col. Michael Friedsam).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 92.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges," April 14–July 31, 1994, no. 10.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 5.
G. F. Waagen. "Nachträge zur Kenntniss der altniederländischen Malerschulen des 15ten und 16ten Jahrhunderts." Kunstblatt no. 41 (August 24, 1847), p. 163, describes this painting as in the collection of the elder Nieuwenhuys, Brussels, and recently acquired by him from the Van Hal collection, Antwerp; attributes it to Jan van Eyck, but comments on the disturbing realism of the figure types, which he does not find elsewhere in Jan's oeuvre.
H. G. Hotho. Die Malerschule Hubert's van Eyck nebst deutschen Vorgängern und Zeitgenossen. Vol. 2, Die flandrische Malerei des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1858, p. 174, attributes it to Hubert van Eyck and says he does not know its present owner.
Joseph Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. Les anciens peintres flamands. Vol. 1, Brussels, 1862, p. 99, say that Waagen assures them that an "Annunciation" by Jan van Eyck was in the collection of Nieuwenhuys at Brussels and incorrectly identify a painting in the 1854 sale of Joly de Bammeville as a copy of this picture.
J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle. The Early Flemish Painters. 2nd ed. London, 1872, p. 120, mention again the "Annunciation" cited by Waagen, but associate it incorrectly with the "Annunciation" by Jan van Eyck at St. Petersburg (now National Gallery, Washington).
Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, p. 21, mentions it as a work by Petrus Christus in a private collection, Paris.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 1, Die Van Eyck, Petrus Christus. Berlin, 1924, p. 158.
Max J. Friedländer. Letter. February 4, 1926, says he is convinced it is by Christus although in many respects it is close to the work of Jan van Eyck.
Duveen Brothers. Letter from Duveen Paris to Duveen New York. February 26, 1926, discuss this picture, apparently recently purchased by Ally (Allen) Loebl and sold to Philip Lehman, and the possible financial involvement in purchase/sale offered to the Duveen firm by Loebl.
Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 132, ascribes it to Christus under the inspiration of Jan van Eyck and mentions a drawing of the Annunciation by Jan in Wolfenbuttel; comments that this work is "not mentioned in the literature," with the exception of Ref. Friedländer 1924.
Malcolm Vaughan. "Paintings by Petrus Christus in America (part 1)." International Studio 89 (January 1928), ill. p. 28, as a recently discovered work by Petrus Christus.
Sidney P. Noe. "Flemish Primitives in New York." American Magazine of Art 21 (January 1930), p. 34, ill. p. 38, ill. p. 30.
"Niederländische Malerei in den Kleinberger Galleries, New-York." Pantheon 5 (1930), p. 36, ill. p. 33.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 14–16, ill., attribute it to Christus, observing that it "fits best into the scheme of the artist's development if it is considered to be a comparatively early work, strongly under the influence of the Van Eycks".
"Christus' 'Annunciation' a Friedsam Gem." Art Digest 7 (November 15, 1932), p. 5, ill.
Erwin Panofsky. Lecture. 1932, quotes Hans Swarzenski [see Ref. 1932] and agrees with him in ascribing it to Hubert van Eyck.
"Friedsam Bequest to be Exhibited Next November." Art News 30 (January 2, 1932), p. 13, prints Bryson Burroughs's survey of the Friedsam paintings.
Erwin Panofsky. Letter. 1933, on the basis of the iconography and style calls it a work in the early Van Eyck style, probably to be ascribed to Hubert van Eyck; rejects the attribution to Christus because the iconography seems to be too early for him, and notes similarities to the Broederlam altarpiece in Dijon which Hubert could have known in Ypres.
Hans Tietze. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935, p. 333, pl. 122 [English ed., "Masterpieces of European Painting in America," New York, 1939, p. 317, pl. 122], as by Christus.
Ernst Günter Troche. Niederländische Malerei. Berlin, 1935, pp. 10–11, as by Christus.
Erwin Panofsky. "The Friedsam Annunciation and the Problem of the Ghent Altarpiece." Art Bulletin 17 (December 1935), pp. 433–73, figs. 1, 5, 8 (overall and details), attributes it to Hubert van Eyck towards the very end of his career, finding its closest stylistic parallel in the "Three Maries at the Tomb" (Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam), which he also ascribes to Hubert; considers this "exterior type" of Annunciation archaic as opposed to the more modern type (e.g., the Merode altarpiece) in which the events are staged within a domestic or ecclesiastical interior; also emphasizes the oblique view of the building as an archaic feature and places the work "certainly prior to the Annunciation in the Ghent altarpiece and hardly much later than the Merode altarpiece"; notes that the juxtaposition of gothic and romanesque buttresses signifies the antithesis of the Old and New Testaments.
J[acques]. Lavalleye in "De vlaamsche schilderkunst tot ongeveer 1480." Geschiedenis van de vlaamsche kunst. Ed. Stan Leurs. Antwerp, 1936, p. 182, as closely related to the work of Jan van Eyck.
David M. Robb. "The Iconography of the Annunciation in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries." Art Bulletin 18 (December 1936), pp. 505–7, 513, 519, fig. 30.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 14, Pieter Bruegel und Nachträge zu den früheren Bänden. Leiden, 1937, pp. 77–78, 80, finds Panofsky's attribution to Hubert unconvincing and retains his attribution to Christus.
Hermann Beenken. "The Annunciation of Petrus Cristus in the Metropolitan Museum and the Problem of Hubert van Eyck." Art Bulletin 19 (June 1937), pp. 220–41, figs. 1, 3 (diagram of perspective construction), refutes Panofsky's attribution to Hubert and, judging from a photograph, ascribes it to Petrus Christus, probably after a lost original by Hubert; observes that the architecture shows the mastery of the laws of perspective which we associate with Christus, and that the Van Eycks would "without doubt have been incapable of this . . . accomplishment"; dates it not much later than Christus's Berlin altar wings of 1452.
Hermann Beenken. "Bildnisschöpfungen Hubert van Eycks." Pantheon 19 (1937), p. 117 n. 1.
Wolfgang Schöne. "Über einige altniederländische Bilder, vor allem in Spanien." Jahrbuch der königlich preuszischen Kunstsammlungen 58 (1937), p. 157 n. 1, no. 12, as a late work by Christus based on an early Eyckian composition that is now lost.
Alan Burroughs. Art Criticism from a Laboratory. Boston, 1938, pp. 195, 251–52, figs. 118, 119 (shadowgraph detail of angel), attributes it to Petrus Christus and dates it tentatively in the 1450s; suggests that it derives from an "Annunciation" by Jan van Eyck (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid) that he dates long after 1426, in which the Virgin holds a book and the angel points up.
Wolfgang Schöne. Dieric Bouts und seine Schule. Berlin, 1938, p. 57, no. 22, lists it with works of Christus, noting that he has not seen the original.
Erwin Panofsky. "Once more 'The Friedsam Annunciation and the Problem of the Ghent Altarpiece'." Art Bulletin 20 (December 1938), pp. 419–42, fig. 5, replies to Beenken [see Ref. 1937], reaffirming his own attribution to Hubert van Eyck.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Recent Research." Burlington Magazine 72 (1938), p. 147.
Charles de Tolnay. Le Maître de Flémalle et les frères van Eyck. Brussels, 1939, pp. 23–24, 48–49 n. 51, fig. 146, finds the attribution to Hubert doubtful but sees the influence of Campin, especially of his "Marriage of the Virgin" (Prado, Madrid).
Miriam Schild Bunim. Space in Medieval Painting and the Forerunners of Perspective. PhD diss., Columbia University. New York, 1940, pp. 202–4, comments that, using a photograph of this painting, she was not able to obtain the same convergence of orthogonals that Beenken did in his perspective drawing [see Ref. Beenken 1937] and thus thinks that Hubert's authorship of our picture cannot be discounted on the grounds that the accuracy of the perspective would have been beyond his capabilities.
Charles de Tolnay. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. October 20, 1943, says he has not reached a definite conclusion regarding the attribution of the painting, but is certain that it is neither by Christus nor Hubert or Jan van Eyck.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Letter. April 12, 1946, calls it a very characteristic work of Petrus Christus.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 13–16, ill., suggest an attribution to Jan van Eyck in his early period, perhaps in collaboration with helpers in his workshop, observing that it does not seem like a copy, and surely not a copy by Petrus Christus.
Theodor Musper. Untersuchungen zu Rogier van der Weyden und Jan van Eyck. Stuttgart, 1948, pp. 102, 107, pl. 115, as a copy by Petrus Christus after an original painted after 1425 by Jan van Eyck.
Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta M. Salinger . . ., 1947." Art Bulletin 31 (June 1949), pp. 140–42, doubts this is an early work by Jan, finding it too unlike his other generally accepted early works; feels it should be catalogued instead as by an unknown Flemish painter of about 1420–30; comments that the proportions of the painting "are strange and its upper ending is decidedly unsatisfactory" and suggests that the panel "was originally much higher, possibly ending in an irregular upper edge like the Broederlam panels in Dijon and that like them it was part of a larger unit".
Ludwig Baldass. "The Ghent Altarpiece of Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Part II." Art Quarterly 13 (Summer 1950), pp. 188, 194 n. 11, states that he has not seen the original, but that the composition "undoubtedly must be credited to Hubert van Eyck".
Margaretta Salinger. "An Annunciation by Gerard David." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 9 (May 1951), pp. 227–28, ill., as by Jan van Eyck and helpers.
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 226, no. 92, colorpl. 92.
Ludwig Baldass. Jan van Eyck. New York, 1952, pp. 24–25, 275, no. 3, pls. 7 (detail) and 8, catalogues it with works of Hubert but admits that he has not seen the original and "is not in a position to give an opinion as to the hand that painted it"; considers it stylistically more advanced than "The Three Maries at the Sepulchre" (Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam) but of an earlier design than "The Adoration of the Lamb" of the Ghent altarpiece; believes the composition was cut at the top.
Germain Bazin. "Petrus Christus et les rapports entre l'Italie et la Flandre au milieu du XVe siècle." Revue des arts 4 (December 1952), p. 199.
H. W. Janson Warburg Institute, University of London. Apes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. London, 1952, pp. 116–18, pl. 10b (detail), discusses the symbolism of the ape that appears as a sculptural element on the right side of the doorway.
Erwin Panofsky. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, Mass., 1953, vol. 1, pp. 133–34, 226, 230–32, 278, 305, 412 n. 3 (to p. 133), p. 451 n. 2 (to p. 231); vol. 2, pl. 152.
Maurice W. Brockwell. The Van Eyck Problem. London, 1954, p. 86.
Julius S. Held. "Erwin Panofsky, 'Early Netherlandish Painting, Its Origin[s] and Character'." Art Bulletin. Vol. 37, September 1955, pp. 205, 222, comments on the dissimilar figure types in this work and in "The Three Maries at the Tomb" and finds it unlikely that these two panels are by the same artist.
Max J. Friedländer. Early Netherlandish Painting: From van Eyck to Bruegel. Ed. F. Grossmann. English ed. [first ed. 1916]. New York, 1956, p. 15, attributes it to Petrus Christus.
Josua Bruyn. Van Eyck problemen. Utrecht, 1957, p. 93 n. 3.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 36–38, 109, fig. 3, as by a 15th-century artist working after Eyckian models, but considerably later.
R. H. Wilenski. Flemish Painters, 1430–1830. New York, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 12, 30–31; vol. 2, pl. 26, as by the New York Annunciation in a Porch Painter.
Colin Eisler. "Erik Larsen, Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York, 1960." Art Bulletin 46 (March 1964), pp. 100–101.
Gertrud Schiller. Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst. Vol. 1, Inkarnation—Kindheit—Taufe—Versuchung—Verklärung—Wirken und Wunder Christi. Gütersloh, Germany, 1966, pp. 60, 213, fig. 115 [English ed., Greenwich, Conn., 1971, pp. 49–50, fig. 115].
Stanley Stewart. The Enclosed Garden: The Tradition and the Image in Seventeenth-Century Poetry. Madison, 1966, pp. 48, 98, fig. 17, discusses the symbolism of the unmended wall.
Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 1, The van Eycks—Petrus Christus. New York, 1967, pp. 89, 102–4, 110 n. 67, pl. 95.
Lotte Brand Philip Darrell Figgis. "Raum und Zeit in der Verkündigung des Genter Altares." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 29 (1967), pp. 91–92, 95, pl. 65.
Charles D. Cuttler. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel. New York, 1968, pp. 89–90, ill., notes that of all works attributed to Hubert this one is the most archaic and thus most likely to be the work of a master who died in 1426; adds that it is in sharp stylistic opposition to other works attributed to him, such as the MMA diptych (33.92ab) and "The Three Maries at the Tomb".
Raymond Bouyer Giorgio T. Faggin inL'opera completa dei Van Eyck. Milan, 1968, p. 99, no. 35, ill. p. 99 and colorpl. 61.
Hans Kauffmann John L. Ward. "A New Look at the 'Friedsam Annunciation'." Art Bulletin 50 (June 1968), pp. 184–87, fig. 1, rejects Panofsky's attribution to Hubert van Eyck, reattributing it to Petrus Christus between about 1440 and 1444; contends there is no parallel in Flemish panel painting in style, conception, or compositional type before 1430; feels the gestures of the Virgin and Angel presuppose a knowledge of Jan van Eyck's grisaille Annunciation panels in the Thyssen collection and on the exterior wings of the Dresden altarpiece, all dating from the mid-1430s.
Shirley Neilsen Blum. Early Netherlandish Triptychs: A Study in Patronage. Berkeley, 1969, p. 10, fig. 6.
[Luisa Marcucci] and Stanley Ferber inMcGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art. Ed. Bernard S. Myers. Vol. 5, New York, 1969, pp. 403–4, ascribes it tentatively to Hubert van Eyck.
Lola B. Malkis Gellman. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1970, pp. 30–31, 38, 299 n. 76, pp. 486–93, no. 28, fig. 78, rejects the attribution to Christus and comments that "one may investigate the possibility that the same hand, probably a member of Jan's workshop, completed the Frick figures [Virgin and Child with Saints]and produced the Friedsam painting".
Carlo L. Ragghianti Robert A. Koch Ettore Camesasca in "Charles D. Cuttler, 'Northern Painting From Pucelle to Bruegel . . .'." Art Bulletin 52 (March 1970), p. 204, attributes it to Christus.
Charles Sterling. Letter. February 20, 1971, says that he would call it "Close follower of Jan van Eyck (Petrus Christus?)".
Lotte Brand Philip. The Ghent Altarpiece and the Art of Jan van Eyck. Princeton, 1971, pp. 171–76, 180, fig. 179, illustrates this painting as "Jan van Eyck (copy)" but in the text suggests that it is a work of Jan's from his earliest years with the Burgundian court; calls the panel a fragment, apparently originally the left wing of a triptych, with the church building certainly continuing into an adjoining architecture which spread over at least the central panel of the triptych; suggests that the now missing upper section may have been gold ground as in Broederlam's Annunciation at Dijon; believes the compositional source was Italian, "undoubtedly a painting coming from the Giotto tradition".
Robert A. Koch Bernard Berenson in Letter. February 23, 1971, writes that he is absolutely convinced that this work is by Christus.
Joel M. Upton. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 1972, pp. 56, 93–95, 102, 110, 120 n. 27, p. 127 nn. 60, 61, pp. 167–70, 189–91 nn. 65–71, p. 238 n. 2, pp. 306, 355–62, no. 19, fig. 19, attributes it to Petrus Christus and dates it probably after 1457.
Peter H. Schabacker. Petrus Christus. Utrecht, 1974, pp. 39, 42, 52–56, 71, 73, 78–79, 98, no. 1, fig. 1, as almost certainly by Christus, but the earliest example of his practice of "wholesale borrowing," thus the Eyckian appearance; states that it was cut down on all sides, especially at the top, and that it may have been the right wing of a triptych; sees the figures as hybrids of Jan's Thyssen and Dresden grisaille panels.
Lorne Campbell Hans Schneider. "Peter H. Schabacker, Petrus Christus." Burlington Magazine 117 (October 1975), pp. 676–77.
Lola B. Gellman. "Peter H. Schabacker, 'Petrus Christus'." Simiolus 8, no. 1 (1975/76), pp. 31–33.
Colin Eisler. "Peter H. Schabacker, 'Petrus Christus'." Art Bulletin 59 (March 1977), p. 141, finds Schabacker's views about this picture sensible, "although a dexter placement of an Annunciation would be highly unusual".
John Malcolm Russell. "The Iconography of the Friedsam 'Annunciation'." Art Bulletin 58 (March 1978), pp. 23–27, fig. 1, accepts the attribution to Petrus Christus; discusses the symbolism of the garden, wall, paths, and stepping stone, and suggests new meanings for these elements of the composition.
K. G. Boon. Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The Hague, 1978, p. 2.
Albert Châtelet. Van Eyck. Bologna, 1979, pp. 28–29, colorpl. 2, ascribes it to Hubert van Eyck.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 185–86, 188, 194, 216, fig. 358 (color).
Elisabeth Dhanens. Hubert and Jan van Eyck. New York, 1980, pp. 355–56, ill., observes that it has sometimes been attributed to Hubert but is more likely to be by Petrus Christus.
Maria Paolini. "Problemi antonelliani–i rapporti con pittura fiamminga." Storia dell'arte no. 38 (1980), p. 161.
Carla Gottlieb. The Window in Art. New York, 1981, pp. 127–29, ill., tentatively ascribes it to Petrus Christus about 1440 and notes that there are "hidden references to the Bridegroom in its windows".
Ann Tzeutschler Lurie. "A Newly Discovered Eyckian 'St. John the Baptist in a Landscape'." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 67 (April 1981), pp. 91, 97, 99, 101–2, 116 n. 49, fig. 28, remarks that "generally scholars agree that it is a copy or a free interpretation of a lost work by either Hubert or Jan van Eyck, dating from before 1430".
Michael Podro. The Critical Historians of Art. New Haven, 1982, pp. 198–99, pl. 71.
George Szabo. "Fouquet and Antonello: Reflections on Two Exhibitions." Drawing 5 (May–June 1983), pp. 8–9, fig. 8.
Colin T. Eisler inLiber Amicorum Herman Liebaers. Ed. Frans Vanwijngaerden et al. Brussels, 1984, p. 468.
Introduction by James Snyder inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 10, 22–23, ill. (color).
Barbara Jakoby. Der Einfluß niederländischer Tafelmalerei des 15. Jahrhunderts auf die Kunst der benachbarten Rheinlande am Beispiel der Verkündigungsdarstellung in Köln, am Niederrhein und in Westfalen (1440–1490). Cologne, 1987, pp. 169, 171, 177, 235, 266 n. 102, p. 275 n. 170, p. 286 n. 256, p. 313 n. 524, pp. 333–34 n. 749, p. 348, pl. 4.
John Onians. Bearers of Meaning: The Classical Orders in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Princeton, 1988, pp. 143, 243, fig. 86, dates it about 1440.
Otto Pächt. Van Eyck: Die Begründer der altniederländischen Malerei. German ed. [English ed. 1994]. Munich, 1989, pp. 174–75, fig. 104, illustrates it as by "Hubert van Eyck(?)" but notes that it has also been associated with Petrus Christus; observes that the painting's condition and the fact that the panel has been cut at the top makes attribution difficult.
Joel M. Upton. Petrus Christus: His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting. University Park, Pa., 1990, pp. 45, 65–66, 76–79, 81, 95 n. 21, p. 102 n. 42, fig. 69.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, p. 335, no. 235, ill.
Zsuzsanne Urbach inStefan Lochner, Meister zu Köln. Ed. Frank Günter Zehnder. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 1993, p. 270.
Christopher S. Wood. "Book Reviews: . . . Joel M. Upton, 'Petrus Christus: His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting . . .'." Art Bulletin 75 (March 1993), p. 177, finds it hard to defend Upton's attribution of this picture to Christus and its late dating.
Albert Châtelet. "Bibliographie critique. Joel M. Ipton [sic for Upton]: 'Petrus Christus, His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Paintings,' 1990." Revue de l'art no. 99 (1993), p. 84, questions Upton's attribution of this panel to Christus.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 80, 117–25, 179, 182, no. 10, ill. (color), and figs. 128–32 (x-radiograph and infrared reflectogram details), calls it "Attributed to Petrus Christus" and notes that only the artist's working method in this case can reliably solve problems of attribution; observes that a recent Mylar tracing confirms that the composition was simply an obliquely constructed scene without perspectival accuracy; states that the panels run horizontally, indicating that the painting is a fragment of a larger composition
Otto Pächt. Van Eyck and the Founders of Early Netherlandish Painting. Ed. Maria Schmidt-Dengler. London, 1994, pp. 43, 174, fig. 104 [German ed. 1989].
Peter Klein in Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Dendrochronological Analysis of Panels Attributed to Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 215.
Olga Kotková. "Book Reviews: M. W. Ainsworth—M. P. J. Martens. 'Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges,' exh. cat., 1994." Umení/The Art 42, no. 4–5 (1994), pp. 413–14, ill.
Lorne Campbell. "New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art: Petrus Christus." Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1098 (September 1994), pp. 639–40, notes that this panel "took its place rather comfortably with the other Christus paintings" in the exhibition.
Paul Jeromack. "New Light on Old Masters." Art & Antiques 17, no. 5 (1994), p. 78, ill. p. 74 (color).
Peter Klein. "Dendrochronological Findings of the Van Eyck–Christus–Bouts Group." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 153, 161, using dendrochronological analysis, dates the panel, plus ten years of storage, at 1442
Lorne Campbell. "Approaches to Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 7.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Afterthoughts and Challenges to Modern-Day Connoisseurship." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 206–7.
Albert Châtelet. "Bibliographie: Maryan W. Ainsworth with contributions by Maximiliaan P. J. Martens. 'Petrus Christus, Renaissance Master of Bruges,' 1994." Bulletin monumental 153–I (1995), p. 99, notes that as a result of Peter Klein's dendrochronological analysis of this panel we can definitively dismiss earlier attributions of the picture to Hubert or Jan van Eyck.
Marta Renger. "Petrus Christus. A Renaissance Artist in Bruges." Kunstchronik 48, no. 3 (March 1995), p. 101, found this panel and the Cleveland Museum's "Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness" quite different from the "authentic works" in the exhibition.
Joel M. Upton inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 7, New York, 1996, p. 239, dates it about 1450.
Charles I. Minott. "Reviews: Maryan W. Ainsworth. 'Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges,' exh. cat., 1994." Renaissance Quarterly 49 (Winter 1996), p. 910, is unconvinced by the attribution of this panel to Christus, finding both its underdrawing and drapery style quite different from those in the Frankfurt "Madonna and Saints" to which Ainsworth compares it.
Della Clason Sperling inFrom Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. vii, 11, 69, 100–102, no. 5, ill. (color, and black and white diagram identifying plants), dates the picture about 1450 and identifies twelve varieties of plants in the landscape; observes that the particular flowering plants shown would not have been in bloom on March 25, the date of the Annunciation.
John Oliver Hand. "New York. From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 140 (December 1998), p. 854.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Commentary: An Integrated Approach." Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 2001, pp. 106–7, pl. 10 (color).
Molly Faries. "Reshaping the Field: The Contribution of Technical Studies." Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 2001, pp. 79–80, supports Ainsworth's "realignment of this panel within the oeuvre of Petrus Christus" and her view that it is a fragment of a larger composition [see Ref. Ainsworth 1994]; observes that "only the accumulation of [technical] data . . . could have dislodged the enormous weight of previouis opinion".
Till-Holger Borchert. "Collecting Early Netherlandish Paintings in Europe and the United States." Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Ed. Bernhard Ridderbos et al. English ed. Amsterdam, 2005, p. 215, fig. 119 [Dutch ed., "'Om iets te weten van de oude meesters'. De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek," Nijmegen, 1995].
Pierre Rosenberg. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Milan, 2006, pp. 30–31, 235, ill. (color).
Susan Urbach. Early Netherlandish Paintings. London, 2015, vol. 1, pp. 75, 77 n. 26, under no. 4.
According to Kleinberger records, "an extract on the back of the picture" stated that it was in the collection of Prince de Charleroi / Duc de Bourgogne [unidentified]. This extract is no longer on the reverse of the painting and cannot be found. In a 1926 receipt from Kleinberger Galleries to Michael Friedsam it is stated that the picture was "painted for the Prince de Charleroi, Duc de Bourgogne."