MASTER of Female Half-lengths
(active 1530-1540 in Antwerp)

Virgin and Child

Oil on panel, 40 x 29 cm
Private collection

This master takes his name from his favoured depiction of a variety of female figures in a half-length and small scale format. Typically these included representations of aristocratic young women reading, writing or playing musical instruments, extended often to include depictions of Mary Magdalene. The present work is characteristic of his representations of the Virgin and Child, which are frequently shown against a neutral background, often with a table in the foreground supporting the Christ Child and an open book. The motif of the Virgin handing fruit to her Son is also to be found in other compositions of this type. The relatively large number of related works grouped under this Master's name would suggest that they were in some part the product of a workshop, most probably located in Antwerp, rather than all by the same hand.