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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: At the Origin of the Galleria Estense


Virgin and Child

Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)

Oil on wood
39 3/4 x 30 3/8 in. (101 x 77.2 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    [Étienne Le Roy, Brussels, until 1861; sold to Bus de Gisignies]; vicomte Bernard du Bus de Gisignies, Brussels (1861–d. 1874; his estate, 1874–82; cat., 1878, pp. 130–31, ill.; his estate sale, Victor Le Roy, Brussels, May 9–10, 1882, no. 61, as by Rubens, for Bfr 15,500 to Sedelmeyer); [Sedelmeyer, Paris, from 1882]; Maurice Kann, Paris (by 1886–d. 1906; his estate, 1906–11; cat., 1911, pp. 24–25; his estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 9, 1911, no. 55, for Fr 52,000); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, by 1920; probably sold shortly thereafter to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (until d. 1931)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of Forty-three Paintings by Rubens and Twenty-five Paintings by Van Dyck," November 19–December 22, 1946, no. 17.

    Pasadena Art Institute. January 1–April 1, 1947, no catalogue?

    Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 4–November 23, 1947, unnumbered cat.

    Iowa City. State University of Iowa, School of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 9–March 31, 1948, unnumbered cat.

    Bloomington. Indiana University. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–May 16, 1948, no catalogue.

    Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," December 1, 1948–January 23, 1949, no catalogue.

    Madison. Memorial Union Gallery, University of Wisconsin. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," February 15–March 30, 1949, unnumbered cat.

    Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," April 24–June 30, 1949, no catalogue.

    Palm Beach. Society of the Four Arts. "European Masters of the XVII and XVIII Centuries," January 13–February 5, 1950, no. 10.

    Hempstead, N.Y. Hofstra College. "Metropolitan Museum Masterpieces," June 26–September 1, 1952, no. 8 (as by Rubens and Helpers).

    Art Center in La Jolla. "Christmas Exhibition," December 15, 1955–January 15, 1956, no catalogue?

  • References

    Édouard Fétis. Galerie du vte du Bus de Gisignies. Brussels, 1878, pp. 130–31, ill. opp. p. 130, as by Rubens.

    Bulletin-Rubens 1 (1882), p. 155.

    "Verkooping der schilderijenverzameling van burggraaf Bernard du Bus de Gisignies, te Brussel." De Vlaamsche School 28 (1882), p. 110.

    Max Rooses. L'Oeuvre de P. P. Rubens. 1, Antwerp, 1886, p. 256, no. 189bis, as in the collection of Maurice Kann; identifies it as a repetition by Rubens of the Hermitage picture, dating it about 1615.

    Illustrated Catalogue of 300 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools. Paris, 1898, p. 186, no. 166, ill. p. 187.

    Max Rooses. Rubens. London, 1904, vol. 1, pp. 184–85 [French ed., "Rubens, sa vie et ses oeuvres," (1900–1903)].

    Edward Dillon. Rubens. London, [1909], p. 222.

    Wilhelm von Bode. La Collection Maurice Kann. Paris, 1911, pp. 24–25, identifies it as an entirely autograph work of about 1617 [but see Ref. Bode 1920].

    Wilhelm von Bode. Letter to Kleinberger. January 28, 1920, dates it about 1615.

    Rudolf Oldenbourg. P. P. Rubens, des Meisters Gemälde. 4th ed. [1st ed. 1905]. Stuttgart, 1921, p. 458, as an excellent replica of the Hermitage picture; erroneously as in the Goldmann collection.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 128.

    Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 42.

    W. R. Valentiner. "Rubens' Paintings in America." Art Quarterly 9 (Spring 1946), p. 159, no. 48, calls it an excellent original work of which the Hermitage picture is another version; dates it about 1615.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Loan Exhibition of Forty-three Paintings by Rubens and Twenty-five Paintings by Van Dyck. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum. Los Angeles, 1946, unpaginated, no. 17.

    Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held. Rubens in America. New York, 1947, p. 49, no. A41, Appendix pl. 1, as a studio work "close in type and style to the Holy Family in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence".

    Erik Larsen. P. P. Rubens. Antwerp, 1952, p. 216, no. 32, as by Rubens; dates it about 1613–14, and cites the Hermitage and Brussels pictures as replicas.

    Justus Müller Hofstede. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. May 30, 1975, calls it an original work by Rubens of the period between 1613 and 1616.

    M[aria]. Varshavskaya. Rubens' Paintings in the Hermitage Museum. Leningrad [St. Petersburg], 1975, p. 96, under no. 10, as a version of the Hermitage picture.

    [Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann] and [Martha Wolff]. Unpublished catalogue entry. n.d., based in part on the observations of Margaretta Salinger [see unpublished catalogue entry in archive file], identify two types among surviving Virgin and Child compositions after Rubens, recorded in engravings by Schelte à Bolswert and Jonas Suyderhoef [published in C. G. Voorhelm Schneevoogt, "Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après Rubens," Haarlem, 1873, p. 81, no. 63, p. 82, no. 66]; associate the MMA work with Suyderhoef's engraving, in which the Virgin's hair is pulled straight back and the drapery of her garment is gathered closely around her arm; state that it follows Rubens's design and was painted in his workshop about 1613–15.

    Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 226–29; vol. 2, pl. 86, associates it with the engraving by Suyderhoef [see Ref. Haverkamp-Begemann and Wolff n.d.], but erroneously refers to the engraving as by Bolswert.

  • Notes

    This is a workshop version of a composition invented by Rubens about 1613–15. The Museum's picture corresponds to one of two very similar presentations by Rubens of the Virgin and Child, both types recorded by engravings [published in C. G. Voorhelm Schneevoogt, "Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après Rubens," Haarlem, 1873, p. 81, no. 63, p. 82, no. 66]. In the type found in our panel, in an engraving by Jonas Suyderhoef, and in at least two other painted versions, the Virgin's hair is pulled straight back with no trace of a parting, and the drapery is gathered closely around her arm at left in scroll-like folds. In the second type, exemplified by Schelte à Bolswert's print, by a canvas in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and by as many as four other painted versions, the Virgin's hair falls in waves from a central part, and the drapery is also more fluid. On the basis of style, the compositions of the MMA picture and related versions appear to antedate the Hermitage picture and related works. The present picture seems to be the best version known of the first type, and comes closest to the engraving by Suyderhoef.

  • See also