Lot 1112: MASTER OF THE HOLY BLOOD, THE VIRGIN WITH CHILD, oak panel, 67,9 x 53 cm
November 17, 2012
Cologne, GermanyLive Auction
The unknown artist was given the unusual name of the Master of the Holy Blood after the triptych he painted for the Fraternity of the Holy Blood in Bruges depicting the Deposition from the Cross. Native from Antwerp, this artist is a rare example of a painter who left the Scheldt city to establish himself in Bruges after 1510, a time when artistic establishments were forming in the opposite direction. Little is known about his training but his work generally reflects the influence of Quentin Metsys in his representation of figures, with an additional sensitivity to the art of Hans Memling, evident in certain stylistic elements. He seems to have developed a very productive workshop working more for the export market than for private clients, as only rarely can donor portraits be found in his altarpieces.
The Madonna here is presented in a rocky landscape, stylistically similar to the work of Joachim Patenier. Elegantly dressed in a fur-lined red gown, she holds the Child on her lap with her right hand whilst presenting her bare breast with the left. The Child wears a coral necklace and holds an apple, a symbol of the original sin. The composition is closely related to the Virgin and Child in Hamburg (Kunsthalle, inv. n° 626); the same face is depicted, with a straight, thin nose, downcast eyes, a small half-moon shaped mouth, a round chin and long brown hair falling over both shoulders in waves of shimmering bronze. This depiction was typical of the artist and can be seen in other paintings such as the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne in Frankfurt (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, inv. n° 82) and the Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara (Bruges, Groeningemuseum, inv. n° 91.8). Considering Patenier's strong influence in the background a date of after 1515 seems fully justified.
We thank Hélène Mund for this catalogue entry.
VAT: Margin Scheme
Provenance: Private collection, Spain.
Dimensions: 67,9 x 53 cm
Artist or Maker: MASTER OF THE HOLY BLOOD
Exhibited: THE VIRGIN WITH CHILD
Medium: oak panel