Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart), 'Virgin and Child'

Description

Jan Gossaert, 'The Virgin and Child', 1527
fig.13 Jean Gossart, 'Virgin and Child', NG1888
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The Virgin’s hair is held under a band of small pearls(?) and is covered by a semi-transparent white veil. She is wearing a white chemise, secured by a drawstring, and a purplish dress with undersleeves that once had deep maroon-purple shadows with pink highlights. Her mantle is red and she uses both hands to restrain, gently, the naked Child as he leaps forward with his arms outstretched. She rests her right foot on a wooden foot-stool carved with a winged head of a disembodied cherub (fig.15) between two volutes that are supported on clawed feet (see fig.14 below, and photomicrograph m17 in Image Viewer). She is seated on a bench of grey stone surrounded by a wooden frame. Inserted into a concave section of its elaborate moulding are the letters of the inscription (fig.16). They appear to be made of gilded metal and are convex; they cast complicated shadows onto the concave surface behind. The lighting is from above and our left. As the original frames of NG1888 and all its versions have been lost without trace, it is not possible to say how the fictive frame would have appeared to relate to the real frame. The engraving by Crispijn de Passe (fig.4), with the winged genii in the spandrels, does not seem to bear any relation to the lost frame. It seems likely that the original frame of NG1888 bore a signature and a date.

Jan Gossaert, 'The Virgin and Child'
fig.14 Photomicrograph of NG1888 showing the left foot of the footstool
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Jan Gossaert, 'The Virgin and Child'
fig.15 Photomicrograph of NG1888 showing the cherub head on the footstool
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Jan Gossaert, 'The Virgin and Child', 1527
fig.16 Detail from NG1888, lettering in the inscription
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