The Holy Family

Artist: Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, Cleve ca. 1485–1540/41 Antwerp)

Date: ca. 1512–13

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 16 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (42.5 x 31.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.57

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 639

The motif of the Virgin and Child is quoted from Jan van Eyck's regal Lucca Madonna of about 1435 (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt). Reduced to a half-length image and placed in a domestic setting, the composition is further altered by the addition of Joseph. The wine and fruits on the foreground ledge refer to Christ's incarnation and sacrifice. Presented as part of everyday life, they also testify to the emerging genre of still-life painting. The combination of quotidian domestic intimacy and symbolic meaning must have had mass appeal, since many variations of this painting were produced for sale on the open market.
The Artist: Joos van Cleve (ca. 1485–1540/41) was one of the most successful painters of early-sixteenth-century Antwerp, where he managed a thriving workshop. Joos probably came from Kleve, a town in the lower Rhine region that was part of the archiepiscopal diocese of Cologne. He most likely trained with Jan Joest and participated with him about 1505/6–1508/9 on the monumental altarpiece for the high altar of the Stadtpfarrkirche Sankt Nicolai in Kalkar. Between that project and 1511, when Joos joined the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke, he is undocumented. However, the strong influence of the works of Hans Memling and Gerard David in his earliest dated paintings, especially the Adam and Eve of 1507 (Musée du Louvre, Paris; see images above, fig. 2), suggest that he spent some time in Bruges. As a free master in Antwerp’s guild, he later took on the responsibility of serving as co-deacon in 1519, 1520, and 1525.

Joos van Cleve produced a variety of works that included large altarpieces as well as single devotional panels. The altarpieces that came to be linked with his name in the Antwerp archives—Joos van der Beke alias van Cleve—are the Death of the Virgin Triptych (Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne) and the Saint Reinhold Altarpiece (Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Warsaw) in which can be found the initials of the artist and a monogram. Joos was also known as a gifted portraitist. Lodovico Guicciardini praised him in his 1567 Descrittione de tutti I Paesi Bassi (Description of the Low Countries) for having been called to the court of Francis I to paint the likenesses of the king and his queen, Eleanor of Austria. The evidence of this assertion is found in two splendid portraits, one of Francis I (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and the other of Eleanor of Austria (Royal Collection, Hampton Court, London).

Joos’s clientele comprised well-to-do burghers in Antwerp and Italian merchants who had professional connections there. The latter account for the significant number of works that became part of Genoese collections. Van Cleve was a savvy entrepreneur, who had the ability to anticipate the aesthetic interests of his clientele and the mass market appeal of certain themes. Early on, he incorporated in his works the popular landscape style of Antwerp’s most famous painter of this genre, Joachim Patinir. He also specialized in the assimilation of new Italianate motifs and sfumato effects of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, especially in his many versions of the Virgin and Child with the Cherries and Christ and Saint John the Baptist Embracing. Joos cornered the market on particular subjects, namely paintings of the Holy Family and Saint Jerome in his Study. In order to satisfy the demand, he implemented methods of streamlined production and hired assistants who began to specialize in specific features of a painting, such as landscapes, leaving for himself the most important contribution, that is, the figures.[1]

The Subject of the Painting: Tightly cropped and in a dramatic close-up of a domestic interior, an aged Joseph looks on as the Virgin nurses the Christ Child. Before about 1500, Joseph often appears in narrative scenes, such as the Nativity or the Adoration of the Magi, in a subsidiary role, relegated to the sidelines of compositions that feature the Virgin and Child. However, in the early sixteenth century, Joseph’s position as part of the Holy Family was reconsidered, and Joos van Cleve was one of the major proponents of this transformation. This changing attitude towards Joseph was inspired in part by the writings of Jean Gerson (1363–1429), chancellor of the University of Paris and Dean of Sint-Donaaskerk in Bruges during the fourteenth century. Gerson advocated that the Holy Family was an earthly version of the Trinity, in which Joseph played a key role. In the fifteenth century, respect for Joseph grew and he was considered not only as an earthly father of Christ but also as a protector of the Virgin and Child. In 1479 Pope Sixtus IV introduced the feast of Saint Joseph in the liturgical calendar. Around 1490 the first account of Joseph’s life was printed in the Netherlands (Histoire van den heiligen Joseph), issued by the Brothers of the Common Life.[2] In 1522 the earliest scholarly treatise on Saint Joseph, the Summa de donis S. Josephi by the Dominican Isidro Isolani, appeared.[3]

Joseph is characterized in these texts by his humility and devotion. These traits are emphasized in The Met’s painting, as he looks up from reading a scroll, awestruck by the tenderness with which the Virgin nurses the Christ Child. Joseph has removed his reading glasses, and he witnesses firsthand, along with the viewer, the manifestation of the biblical scriptures on the scroll in his right hand. The legible text begins with words of greeting from Mary’s cousin Elizabeth in recognition of her miraculous pregnancy (fig. 1). It continues with lines from the Magnificat (Luke I: 42, 46–50), Mary’s response to Elizabeth, which is a celebration of Christ’s Incarnation, God’s omnipotence, and the future of mankind (see Inscriptions).

The words of the Magnificat relate to the symbolic meaning of the objects on the shelf at the upper right and on the parapet in the foreground of this domestic interior. On the background shelf is a small wooden box and a sealed carafe; a small whiskbroom hangs underneath. These objects are all traditional symbols of Mary’s purity. On the parapet, projecting into the viewer’s space, is a still-life arrangement that symbolically refers to Christ’s Incarnation and his redemption of humankind. The wine in the closed glass and the grapes on the pewter charger refer to the Eucharist. The pomegranate symbolizes the Church, since it is one whole consisting of many parts, while its red color may signal Christ’s Passion. The cherries represent the fruit of Paradise. The kernel of the halved walnut refers to Christ’s divinity, while the shell indicates the wood of the cross. The apple that Christ holds is another symbolic object: it recalls the fruit of Original Sin, and Christ’s redemptive role as the New Adam as he gently touches his mother, the New Eve. Taken together, these objects create a complex liturgical and devotional meaning beyond the simple domestic scene, and are intended for the meditation and contemplation of the viewer. The objects in the foreground are also an early example of still-life painting, and show the incipient stages of a new genre that would come into its own by the seventeenth century.

The Attribution and Date: The Holy Family has unanimously been attributed to Joos van Cleve (see References). There is only some discussion about the date of the painting, whether it is closer to 1513–15, as most authors agree, or 1517–20, as John Hand (1978, 1989, and 2004) has suggested. Taken together, the subject matter, composition, and style all argue for the earlier date, and in particular, the impact on Joos of his time spent in Bruges around 1507–11.

Between Joos van Cleve’s earliest artistic activity in Kalkar as an assistant of Jan Joest and the first documentation of his guild membership in Antwerp in 1511, there is no record of his whereabouts. However, his earliest works, such as the Adam and Eve dated 1507 (Musée du Louvre, Paris; fig. 2), and the Virgin and Child of about 1511/12 (private collection, The Netherlands; fig. 3) show the clear influence of Bruges painters, namely Hans Memling and Gerard David (Hand 2004, pp. 16–20; Leeflang 2015, pp. 15–16). For his Adam and Eve, Joos conflated features of the Adam and Eve paintings of both Memling and David (compare figs. 2, 4, and 5), which, in turn, are strongly influenced by these same figures in Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s famous Ghent Altarpiece of 1432. For the motif of the Virgin and Child, he recalled a lost prototype of Robert Campin, but referred to the Virgin type found in Gerard David’s paintings, in particular their oval faces, dimpled chins, and prominent spheroid eyes with heavy lids over oblong slits for eyes (Hand 2004, p. 24; compare with The Met 1977.1.1 and 49.7.21).

The Virgin in The Met’s Holy Family closely follows these trends in two ways, by paying homage to the oeuvre of Jan van Eyck, and by adapting the Virgin types of Gerard David’s works. The Met’s Virgin resembles the inclined head and physiognomy of his earlier private collection Virgin; note, too, the distinct similarity of the pose and elegant articulation of the long fingers in the two left hands of the Virgins juxtaposed with the pudgy right hands of the Christ Child in each. Yet the more subtly-blended and refined brushwork evidenced in the beautiful modeling of the Virgin’s face and the convincing transparency of her headdress in The Met's painting indicate the more sophisticated handling of a later work, about 1513–15 (see Technical Notes). The meticulous brushwork and poignant rendering of the ruddy, aged face of Joseph, with his sagging brow, missing teeth, and scruffy white beard is no less masterfully achieved than the exquisite execution of the still-life objects in the painting—both on the shelf at the upper right and on the cloth covered parapet in the immediate foreground.

Despite the fact that the Holy Family was likely painted in Joos’s early years in Antwerp, it nonetheless exemplifies another important lesson that he learned in Bruges—that is, the enduring popularity of the works of Jan van Eyck. It has long been recognized that the motif of the Virgin and Child was borrowed from Jan van Eyck’s painting known as the Lucca Madonna, due to its earliest known, nineteenth-century provenance in that Tuscan city (Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main; fig. 6). Neither the original commissioner nor destined location of the Van Eyck painting is known, but the picture may still have been in Bruges in Joos’s time where he could have studied it firsthand. Joos possibly received a commission to copy the motif of Jan’s Virgin and Child in a new work, or, being a savvy entrepreneur, he may have recognized the market advantage of paying homage to Bruges’s most famous painter. Joos closely reproduced Jan’s model, and this likely explains why the underdrawing reveals a minimal contour line drawing for the figures, with only sparse parallel hatching just to the left of the Virgin’s fur cuff (fig. 7).[4] However, Joos did not simply produce a slavish copy of Van Eyck’s work. Instead, just as Gerard David had done with his own partial copy of Van Eyck’s Virgin and Child at the Fountain (see 1977.1.1), Joos assimilated the most important motif of the painting and placed the Virgin and Child in a modern, updated composition: a recognizably contemporary domestic interior.

The combination of quotidian domestic intimacy and elaborate symbolic meaning must have had mass appeal. Both Joos van Cleve and Gerard David (fig. 8) produced versions of the Holy Family, likely hoping to garner the interest of Antwerp buyers.[5] Somewhat later, this developed into Joos’s “niche production,” that is, his series of Holy Family paintings that he and his workshop created for open market sale in Antwerp to satisfy an increasing demand from a burgeoning middle- and upper-class of buyers. Prime examples of this phenomenon are 41.190.19 and 1975.1.117 from the workshop of Joos van Cleve.

John Hand (2004, pp. 131–32) lists six versions of The Met's painting, none of which is an exact copy. The variations of the composition and the painting style of these suggest that they were not painted directly in Joos’s workshop. In any event, Joos did not have any assistants between 1511 and 1516, his first five years in Antwerp. The serial production of Holy Family paintings in Joos’s workshop are from a later period, mostly after 1525.

Maryan W. Ainsworth 2018

[1] For a more detailed discussion of Joos van Cleve’s biography and works, see Hand 2004 and Leeflang 2011.
[2] Marjory Bolger Foster, “The Iconography of Saint Joseph in Netherlandish Art 1400-1500,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Kansas, 1978, pp. 60–63.
[3] Guy-M. Bertrand, “La ‘Summa de donis Sancti Josephi’ de Isidore de Isolanis, O.P.,” Cahiers de Joséphologie 8, no. 2 (1960), pp. 219–49.
[4] Joos’s Virgin and Child (private collection), discussed above, also shows an underdrawing limited to the contours of the figures, as it too copies a known model, in this case a Robert Campin prototype. See Leeflang 2015, p. 70, fig. 2.54.
[5] For the most recent discussion of Gerard David’s Holy Family, see Peter van den Brink in Christie’s Old Masters auction catalogue, July 5, 2018, pp. 126–33, no. 31. Gerard David joined the Antwerp painters’ guild in 1515 in order to sell paintings there, although he apparently never moved his workshop from Bruges.
Support: The support was constructed from a single plank of oak, with the grain oriented vertically. Dendrochronological analysis indicated an earliest possible creation date of 1498 with a more plausible date of 1504 onwards.[1] The wood originated in the Baltic/Polish region. A barbe and unpainted margins are present on all four edges indicating that the original dimensions of the painting are preserved and that the panel was prepared in an engaged frame.

The panel, measuring 5 mm thick, retains some of its original decoration on the reverse. There is a coating with discolored white paint, now buried beneath a thick coat of wax (see fig. 9 above). No design is evident on the white layer, however, the paint is quite damaged. There were engaged frame members on the back as well, as indicated by unpainted margins—similar to those on the front—and traces of a barbe along the bottom.

Preparation: The panel was prepared with a white ground. Examination with infrared reflectography revealed the presence of an underdrawing executed with a dry medium (fig. 7).[2] All major contours were underdrawn, although the underdrawing becomes difficult to detect where the lines are closely followed with paint. The underdrawing is limited to contours but there is no evidence that the design was transferred; the drawing was done freehand. The slightly undulating lines, as in Joseph’s nose and chin and the Virgin’s right hand, are characteristic of Joos van Cleve underdrawings.[3] The artist essentially followed the underdrawing in the painting, making only minor adjustments to contours.

Paint Layers: In this intimate scene the play of light on the variety of objects placed across the composition engages the eye while illustrating the artist’s skill. For example, he subtly differentiates two light sources on the wine carafe at lower left: the small, warmer highlight appears to reflect the light of a candle, while the cooler white of the three stripes seem to reflect daylight, perhaps from another window in the room. Interestingly, these reflections do not seem to accurately reflect the location of the light sources in the room. This carafe with these exact reflections is included in many of these Virgin and Child compositions attributed to Joos van Cleve and his workshop, regardless of the location of the windows or light source, but only seem to reflect the scene accurately in the Holy Family in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. GG836) where the window is on the right. This suggests that the still life was replicated in several paintings, perhaps by a specialist, without regard to the light sources in each setting.

Some adjustments were made to the still life components during the course of painting; while reserves were left for the grapes and the pomegranate, the artist added the pears and cherries on top of the pewter dish. Joos achieved the cool pearlescent fleshtones of the Virgin and Child by incorporating some grey into the softly blended paint, characteristic of his treatment of fleshtones. The cool glow of the Virgin and Child contrasts with the ruddier complexion of Joseph, painted with warmer tones instead of the grey paint.

The painting is in good condition, with some minor rubbing in the darks. Red glazes have faded in Joseph’s pale lavender-grey cloak. The uppermost green glazes on the tablecloth have been damaged revealing the lighter, brighter green underlayer. It would originally have been closer in color and tone to the cloth in the Virgin and Child (1982.60.47).

Sophie Scully 2018

[1] Wood identification and dendrochronological analysis completed by Dr. Peter Klein, Universität Hamburg, dated May 12, 1997. The report can be found in the files of the Department of Paintings Conservation. “The youngest heartwood ring was formed out in the year 1487. Regarding the sapwood statistic of Eastern Europe an earliest felling date can be derived for the year 1496, more plausible is a felling date between 1500..1502….1506 + x. With a minimum of 2 years for seasoning an earliest creation of the painting is possible from 1498 upwards. Under the assumption of a median of 15 sapwood rings and 2 years for seasoning, as probably usual in the 14th/15th century, a creation is plausible from 1504 upwards.”
[2] Infrared reflectography completed with an OSIRIS InGaAs near-infrared camera with a 6-element, 150mm focal length f/5.6–f/45 lens; 900-1700nm spectral response, June 2018.
[3] See Leeflang 2015, p. 40, for more comparisons.
Inscription: Inscribed (on scroll): . . . et benedictus / fructus ventris tui / . . . / . . . / Magnificat [a]N[im]A / mea dominum / Et exultavit Sp[iritu]s me / us in deo salutari meo / Quia respexit humi / litatem ancillae suae / [ecce enim ex hoc] b[ea]tam / [me dicent omnes] generat / [iones. Quia] fecit mihi [magna] / qui potens est et / [sanctum nomen] ejus Et / [misericordia] ejus a / [progenie in progenies timentibus eum.] ( . . . and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. . . . My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: [for, behold, from henceforth all] generations [shall call me] blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me [great things]; and [holy is his name]. And his [mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation] [Luke 1:42, 46-50, including the first five lines of the Magnificat].)
E. Secrétan, Paris (until 1885; sold to Spiridon); Joseph Spiridon, Paris (1885–1929; his sale, Cassirer & Helbing, Berlin, May 31, 1929, no. 73, for Reichsmark 310,000 to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1929–30; sold for $70,000 to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1930–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Flemish Primitives," 1929, no. 54 (lent by Kleinberger Galleries).

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

Kansas City, Mo. Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum. "Seventh Anniversary Exhibition of German, Flemish, and Dutch Painting," December 1940–January 1941, no. 9.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 61.

Aachen. Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum. "Leonardo des Nordens—Joos van Cleve," March 17–June 26, 2011, no. 27.

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.

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.

Raimond van Marle. "Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon." Der Cicerone 21 (1929), p. 189.

Die Sammlung Joseph Spiridon, Paris. Paul Cassirer and Hugo Helbing, Berlin. 1929, no. 71, pl. 90.

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.

The Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13, 14th ed. London, 1929, p. 146.

Hubert Wilm. Kunstsammler und Kunstmarkt. Munich, 1930, pp. 143–44, ill.

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]".

Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 9, Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier. 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.

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.

Ernest Lotthé. La pensée chrétienne dans la peinture flamande et hollandaise. Lille, 1947, vol. 1, pp. 124–25, no. 280, pl. 95a.

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.

Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 54.

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. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 9, part 1, Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier. 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. Ed. Roger van Schoute and Dominique Hollanders-Favart. Colloque 4, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982, p. 161, notes that it 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.

James Snyder. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. New York, 1985, p. 417, ill., dates it about 1513.

Lorne Campbell. The Early Flemish Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. Cambridge, 1985, p. 28.

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]. Vol. 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.

Hans Belting. Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art. Chicago, 1994, pp. 474–75, 602 n. 37, fig. 286.

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 269, ill. p. 268.

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. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. 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'.

Amy Powell. "Caught Between Dispensations: Heterogeneity in Early Netherlandish Painting." Journal of Visual Culture 7, no. 1 (2008), pp. 83–85, 89–91, 93–96, 98–99 n. 8, fig. 1.

Alice Taatgen in Joos van Cleve, Leonardo des Nordens. Ed. Peter van den Brink et al. Exh. cat., Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen. Stuttgart, 2011, pp. 172–73, no. 27, dates it about 1515–20.

Micha Leeflang in Joos van Cleve, Leonardo des Nordens. Ed. Peter van den Brink et al. Exh. cat., Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen. Stuttgart, 2011, p. 147, fig. 124 (color).

Susan Urbach. Early Netherlandish Paintings. London, 2015, vol. 1, pp. 84–85 n. 13, under no. 5.

Micha Leeflang. Joos van Cleve: A Sixteenth-Century Antwerp Artist and His Workshop. Turnhout, 2015, pp. 71–73, 88 n. 102, pp. 165, 167, 169–70, 182–83, 190 nn. 9–11, fig. 4.1 (color).

Gianluca Zanelli in Joos van Cleve: il trittico di San Donato. Ed. Gianluca Zanelli. Genoa, 2016, pp. 42, 60 n. 95, fig. 22 (color).

Old Master Paintings, Part I. Dorotheum, Vienna. October 17, 2017, p. 88, under no. 38.

Joos van Cleve (9)
Oil paint (2,076)
Paintings (13,286)