(b. ca. 1478, Maubeuge, d. 1532, Middelburg)
Virgin and Child with Musical Angelsc. 1510
Oil on oak panel, 36 x 28
The Virgin and Child with musical angels was a popular theme in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Bruges. It was developed over the decades through numerous examples by Memling, David, and their followers. Such examples invariably showed youthful angels, however, rather than putti, which were far more common in North Italian painting of the period. Mantegna's San Zeno Altarpiece, or another example of its type which Gossart had seen during his Italian sojourn in 1508-09 may well have provided Gossart with a precedent for the close pose and placement of the putti at the base of the Virgin's throne.
An unusual feature of the painting is that the Virgin's head was apparently left blank and has been repainted several times. The present head is a modern restoration.