(active 1520-40 in Milan)

Madonna and Child with St Elizabeth and the Infant St John the Baptist

Oil on panel, 65 x 54 cm
Private collection

The two "Holy Children', the infant Jesus and the young St John the Baptist, are represented embracing and kissing on the mouth. The "Kiss of the Holy Children" as an iconographic and psychological theme originated as a Milanese and Leonardesque subject. It enjoyed extraordinary success in Lombardy and especially in Northern Europe, as the large number of replicas and variants produced in the Antwerp workshop of Joos van Cleve attest.

This panel is a prototype from which a series of weaker quality replicas descend, executed by collaborators and followers.