(b. ca. 1478, Maubeuge, d. 1532, Middelburg)

Virgin and Child in a Landscape

Oil on oak panel, 50 x 38 cm (without frame)
Museum of Art, Cleveland

This panel was probably the left half of a diptych, the right half with probably a praying donor has not survived. The most interesting feature of the painting is the Virgin's particularly contemplative mood and pose. The gesture of a figure with head in hand goes back to antiquity, and Renaissance examples featured Christ, Job, and St Jerome among others in this pose of contemplation. Gossart's painting was probably influenced by Dürer's St Jerome, or his Madonna of the Pear, which may have been in the Netherlands during Gossart's lifetime.

The pastoral setting of the Virgin and Child is unique in Gossart's surviving work. Gossart apparently regularly employed landscape specialists to collaborate with him, the landscape in this panel was probably painted by such a specialist. The Master of the Female Half-Lengths, a close follower of Patenier, is the likely painter who added the landscape behind the figures.