WEYDEN, Rogier van der
(b. 1400, Tournai, d. 1464, Bruxelles)

Virgin and Child (Durán Madonna)

c. 1440
Oil on panel, 100 x 52 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

There are works by Rogier van der Weyden's own hand artistically related to the Miraflores Altarpiece. In the impressive Madonna in Red - also known as the Durán Madonna, after a former owner - there is an architectural niche very like the portals of the altarpiece, again with an angel hovering with a crown at the apex. At the same time, it picks up ideas from the great Deposition (Prado, Madrid): a "living" figure of the Virgin appears where a statue would normally stand, removed from any realistic or narrative environment. Any additional explanatory motifs - for instance the small painted sculptures present in other works - are absent from the Durán Madonna, and the colours are restricted to only a few values. In her red robe, glowing with an unreal light, and framed in a sculptural niche, the Virgin appears withdrawn and majestic, though her loving attention to her son and the rough, childish way he is leafing through the book are very human touches in themselves. The painting may perhaps come chronologically between the Deposition and the Miraflores Altarpiece, for the angel holding the crown appears more meaningful in the Madonna panel, and is placed above Mary's head in line with pictorial tradition.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.