Young Woman with a Pink

Artist: Attributed to Hans Memling (Netherlandish, Seligenstadt, active by 1465–died 1494 Bruges)

Date: ca. 1485–90

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 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)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.7.23


Rather than depicting a specific woman, this painting of an idealized beauty was once part of an allegorical diptych. Together with its pendant (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam), the panel represents the virtues of true love and the obstacles it must overcome. The woman holds a pink, a flower symbolizing betrothal or marriage. She gazes toward the pendant panel, which depicts two horses and a monkey, symbols for the man in love and the opposing attributes of lust and faithfulness.