(b. 1465/66, Leuven, d. 1530, Antwerpen)
Madonna of the Cherries (detail)1520s
Oil on panel
The emotional connection between the Virgin and Child is stronger here than in any other composition by Massys. The motif of her kissing the Child ultimately derives from 12th century icons, but probably comes to Massys through the intermediaries of Dirck Bouts and Gerard David. Massys' version, however, is more restrained, his Virgin a more stoic figure, who holds herself back, perhaps envisaging what was to come.