Attributed to Hans Memling (Netherlandish, active about 1465, died 1494)
Oil on wood
Overall 17 x 7 3/8 in. (43.2 x 18.7 cm); painted surface 17 x 6 7/8 in. (43.2 x 17.5 cm)
The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.23)
Long considered a portrait, this panel is, instead, part of an allegory of true love, and this accounts for the woman's stylized features. A companion picture in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, shows two horses, one with a monkey on its back, in a landscape; the horses, symbols for the man in love, represent the opposing attributes of lust and faithfulness. The carnation held by the woman is a symbol of betrothal.