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

Virgin and Child

c. 1478
Oil on oak panel, 33,4 x 23,8 cm
Museum of Art, Cleveland

Although this little work is abraded in places, its original delicate quality can still be observed in the sharp features, the thin shapes of the limbs and hand and the fine folds. However, it cannot be a Memling. Neither the facial type nor the weak, doll-like structure bears witness to his hand. It is one of those Virgin-and-Child compositions in the manner of the master which may be based on a Memling prototype. This prototype would then most likely be situated early in his career, around the time of the New York tondo or the Virgin of the Wernher Collection. Roughly of the same type, but full-length, is Memling's Granada Virgin. And the golden background with dark clouds is reminiscent of the wings with an Angel with an olive-branch and an Angel with a sword (Paris-London).

The type is based on a composition by Rogier van der Weyden, which is itself only known from a workshop replica (Chicago, Art Institute) and from a copy in the style of Memling. Since Memling applied the type once again in the triptych with the Adoration of the Magi (Madrid, Museo del Prado), one can assume that Memling disposed of a cartoon or model of this composition.




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