Virgin and Child

Workshop of Dieric Bouts Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 537

This is the finest surviving example by a workshop assistant of Dieric Bouts, based on a lost composition by the master himself. Among fifteen other versions of the subject, it is set apart from these by the panoramic landscape background that was probably not part of the prototype. The pink in the Child’s hand invests the painting with a double meaning, alluding to Mary’s sorrow over the Child’s earthly fate and the heavenly reunion of the two, thereby encapsulating his messianic role in the salvation of humankind and the Virgin’s sorrows and joys as the mother of Christ.

Virgin and Child, Workshop of Dieric Bouts (Netherlandish, Haarlem, active by 1457–died 1475), Oil on wood

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