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

Virgin and Child

Oil on oak panel, 34 x 25 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

This small painting is unique in Gossart's oeuvre for its portrayal of the Virgin and Child in a palace interior. it is accepted as the original of a composition that exists in at least three other versions.

The painter featured his favourite pigment, ultramarine, in an exaggerated, complex system of folds for the Virgin's drapery, which extends over nearly a third of the composition. The Child's muscular, expressive body, familiar from other late paintings, must have derived from Italian sources. Although the exact source cannot be identified, he may well have been looking at Italian Renaissance plaquettes, such as The Infant Hercules Strangling Two Serpents by Moderno.