Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, pp. 115, 186, as by Joos van Cleve; notes that the artist borrowed the composition from Jan van Eyck's Virgin in Frankfurt [the "Lucca Madonna," Städelsches Kunstinstitut].
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, p. 401, notes that the placement of "accessories" on a ledge or table in the foreground was introduced by the Bruges School; mentions another autograph version of the composition in America.
Friedrich Winkler. Die altniederländische Malerei: Die Malerei in Belgien und Holland von 1400–1600. Berlin, 1924, p. 249, mentions this picture as an example of Joos's borrowing from Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden; notes that the fruit still lifes that appear frequently in Joos's Madonna paintings take their inspiration from the Master of Frankfort, with whom he was apprenticed.
Ludwig von Baldass. Joos van Cleve, der Meister des Todes Mariä. Vienna, 1925, p. 18, no. 18, fig. 15, places it in Joos's first Antwerp period, about 1512; suggests that this picture was the prototype for later similar compositions produced by the artist and his workshop; considers the fruit still life on the parapet characteristic of the Antwerp school, and mentions the Frankfort Master's 1496 double-portrait with his wife [now Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp] as an early example of its use; sees the influence of Jan van Eyck, by way of Quentin Massys, in the background wall with its lively still-life elements.
The Encyclopædia Britannica. 13, 14th ed. London, 1929, p. 146.
M. J. Friedländer. "Zwei Altniederländische Bilder in der Spiridon–Sammlung." Pantheon 3 (1929), pp. 206–12, ill., dates it about 1520, "at the peak of Joos's career" and illustrates and discusses several copies after it; suggests that the artist worked from a drawing of Van Eyck's Lucca Madonna.
Raimond van Marle. "Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon." Der Cicerone 21 (1929), p. 189.
E. M. Sperling. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc., New York. New York, 1929, pp. 17, 168, no. 54, pl. 54.
Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon, Paris. Paul Cassirer and Hugo Helbing, Berlin. 1929, no. 71, pl. 90.
Max J. Friedländer. Letter to Michael Friedsam. April 5, 1930, as by Joos van Cleve; calls it "an absolutely pure and perfect work by one of the great Flemish Masters [Joos van Cleve]".
Hubert Wilm. Kunstsammler und Kunstmarkt. Munich, 1930, pp. 143–44, ill.
Max J. Friedländer. "Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier." Die altniederländische Malerei. 9, Berlin, 1931, pp. 41–43, 137–38, pl. 65, as a perfectly preserved and outstanding work by Joos van Cleve, from about 1513; identifies four copies of it; notes that Joos has varied van Eyck's forms here, while maintaining his own flexibility and stylistic self-assurance; comments that the Virgin's face owes nothing to its model and recurs as an ideal type elsewhere in Joos's oeuvre.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 24, no. 33, date it about 1512.
Ernest Lotthé. La pensée chrétienne dans la peinture flamande et hollandaise. Lille, 1947, vol. 1, pp. 124–25, no. 280, pl. 95a.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 132–33, ill., date it about 1513, not many years after Joos's arrival in Antwerp; consider it the original among several versions.
Erwin Panofsky. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, Mass., 1953, vol. 1, p. 354; vol. 2, pl. 333, fig. 494, as by "the Master of the Death of the Virgin (Joos van Cleve?)".
Leo van Puyvelde. La peinture flamande au siècle des van Eyck. Paris, 1953, p. 335.
Ingvar Bergström. "Disguised Symbolism in 'Madonna' Pictures and Still Life: I." Burlington Magazine 97 (October 1955), pp. 304, 307, fig. 3, discusses the symbolism of the still–life elements.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 91–92, 130–31, fig. 33, believes the precisely rendered and modeled physiognomy of Saint Joseph is borrowed from the Leonardesque types of Quentin Massys or perhaps even directly from Leonardo.
Max J. Friedländer et al. "Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier." Early Netherlandish Painting. 9, part 1, New York, 1972, pp. 28–29, 64, no. 65, pl. 82.
Elga Lanc. "Die religiösen Bilder des Joos van Cleve." PhD diss., Universität Wien, 1972, pp. 20, 22–26, 164 n. 1, fig. 14.
E. de Jongh. "Grape Symbolism in Paintings of the 16th and 17th Centuries." Simiolus 7, no. 4 (1974), pp. 184–85, ill., mentions it with representations of the Madonna and Child with grapes and elaborates on their symbolic meaning at the time of transition from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance; cites 16th-century texts in which Mary is described as a vineyard, and Christ as the grape, noting that in many paintings it is difficult to tell whether the grapes are an attribute of Christ or Mary or both.
John Oliver Hand. "Joos van Cleve: The Early and Mature Works." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1978, pp. 155–58, 160, 274–75 n. 40 (to p. 161), p. 299, no. 32, fig. 40, dates it about 1520 (1517/18 at the earliest); comments that Joseph is represented in a novel way as a scholar of texts and man of learning.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 201, 212, fig. 381 (color).
Edwin James Mundy III. "Gerard David Studies." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1980, p. 131.
James Mundy. "Gerard David's 'Rest on the Flight into Egypt': Further Additions to Grape Symbolism." Simiolus 12, no. 4 (1981–82), p. 221, mentions it as an example of grape imagery from around 1515–20.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Underdrawings in Paintings by Joos van Cleve at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Le dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture. Colloque 4, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982, p. 161, notes that this painting has been unanimously accepted as by Joos, but has no detectable underdrawing.
Mark L. Evans. "An Early Altar–piece by Joos van Cleve." Burlington Magazine 124 (October, 1982), p. 623 n. 8.
Larry Silver. The Paintings of Quinten Massys with Catalogue Raisonné. Montclair, N.J., 1984, p. 177, pl. 161.
Lorne Campbell. The Early Flemish Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. Cambridge, 1985, p. 28.
James Snyder. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. New York, 1985, p. 417, ill., dates it about 1513.
Introduction by James Snyder in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 12, 53, ill. (color).
M. Comblen-Sonkes with the collaboration of Ignace Vandevivere. Les Musées de l'Institut de France [Les primitifs flamands, 1 Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas mérodionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 15]. 15, Brussels, 1988, p. 131.
John Oliver Hand. "Joos van Cleve's Holy Family." Currier Gallery of Art Bulletin (Fall 1989), pp. 10–11, 13–14, 16, ill., dates it about 1517–20; discusses it as a source for Joos's Holy Family in the Currier Gallery of Art (Manchester, New Hampshire); observes that among other elements, the inscription on the scroll held by Joseph is identical in both paintings.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, p. 342, no. 281, ill.
Jochen Sander. Niederländische Gemälde im Städel, 1400–1550. Mainz, 1993, p. 220 n. 12.
Víctor I. Stoichita. The Self-Aware Image: An Insight into Early Modern Meta-Painting. Cambridge, 1997, pp. 25–27, fig. 9, discusses the still life elements in this picture—the knife and bowl of fruit—that appear to "'cross' the surface of the painting".
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "A Meeting of Sacred and Secular Worlds." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 69, 74, 85, 90, 246, 248–50, 252, 319, 325, 360, no. 61, ill. (color), dates it about 1512–13; discusses the picture's symbolic meaning as well as Saint Joseph's increasing importance during the 14th and 15th centuries; identifies a modified replica of our painting by a follower of Joos (Art Museum of the Ateneum, Helsinki).
John Oliver Hand. Joos van Cleve: The Complete Paintings. New Haven, 2004, pp. 52, 54, 56, 88, 116, 131–32, 142, no. 32, fig. 51 (color), dates it about 1517–20 and sees the type of Joseph as derived from Rogier van der Weyden; considers Joos "a major force in the creation and dissemination of . . . a new type of nonnarrative devotional image" with the Holy Family and calls this panel one of the earliest of these; notes that in Van Eyck's Lucca Madonna (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt), the model for the pose of the Virgin and Child here, the same references to the Virgin's purity appear: the whisk broom and stoppered carafe; adds that the beaker of wine, half walnut and bunch of grapes refer to the Eucharist and Christ's future sacrifice; calls the pomegranate an emblem of the Church, and notes that cherries often symbolize the delights of Paradise; adds that the pear and "(?) quince" may allude to Christ as the 'new Adam'.
Micha Leeflang in Joos van Cleve, Leonardo des Nordens. Exh. cat., Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen. Stuttgart, 2011, p. 147, fig. 124 (color).
Alice Taatgen in Joos van Cleve, Leonardo des Nordens. Exh. cat., Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen. Stuttgart, 2011, pp. 172–73, no. 27, dates it about 1515–20.