This painting was probably painted as a private devotional work. The Virgin Mary's halo is inscribed with the Archangel Gabriel's salutation at the Annunciation as recounted in the New Testament (Luke 1: 28).

It was probably hung in a tabernacle frame fairly high on a bedchamber wall. Thus the Virgin looks down on the viewer. The crisp and complex folds of the Christ Child's drapery serve as a foil for the Virgin's hands, which seem to do little to support him.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1436 - after 1509/17
Full title
The Virgin and Child
Date made
about 1474-5
Medium and support
Tempera on wood
Dimensions
52.1 x 34.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
NG2482
Location in Gallery