BOUTS, Dieric the Elder
(b. ca. 1415, Haarlem, d. 1475, Leuven)

The Virgin and Child

Panel, 29,5 x 20,5 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

Some doubt persists as to the authorship of the small painting entitled The Virgin and Child. It has been identified as originating from the circle surrounding Dieric Bouts, of whose origins we know little with any certainty. He probably came from Haarlem, and learned his artist's trade in the Southern Netherlands where he was strongly influenced by Rogier van der Weyden. He received major commissions from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Louvain. The panel in question was intended to move the viewer to reflection. Mary, the most virtuous of all women, is portrayed here as the incarnation of the contemporary ideal of beauty, with her long, pale face and the raised hair-line.