Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Barbara

Hans Memling Netherlandish

Not on view

Memling adapted this composition from a large, celebrated altarpiece that he completed in 1479 for the Sint-Janshospitaal in Bruges. This smaller, more modest version was commissioned by an unidentified donor who kneels at the left. He is shown reciting his rosary as he contemplates Saint Catherine’s mystic marriage to the infant Jesus. Saint Barbara, whose attribute—the tower—is behind her, sets a meditative example by reading. The grape arbor above the Virgin’s throne and canopy was most likely added shortly after Memling’s lifetime, in the early sixteenth century, when the cult of the Eucharist became increasingly popular.

Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Barbara, Hans Memling (Netherlandish, Seligenstadt, active by 1465–died 1494 Bruges), Oil on wood

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