(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

The Presentation in the Temple

Oil on wood, 60 x 48 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Memling, of German origin, worked for most of his active career in Bruges, at that time the most important art center and the wealthiest city in northern Europe. In this early work, the splendor of the fantastic setting and rich brocades reflect the opulence of the society from which the artist received his commissions. The two girls, whose presence is not required by the Biblical text, may represent members of the donor's family. By some, they are thought to have been painted by Memling's Instructor, Rogier van der Weyden.