Skip to main content
The Virgin and Child with Musical Angels
Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece
/

This painting of the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ was probably made for private devotion. Seated on a cushion, its thick tassels protruding from beneath the folds of her draperies, the Virgin is about to breastfeed her child. The flowers in the vase on the right are pinks, called Nelke (‘nailflowers’) in German, and refer to Christ’s crucifixion. The delicate columbine on the left – the long-stemmed plant with bell-shaped flowers – was associated with the Virgin Mary as well as the Holy Ghost, often depicted as a dove (columba means ‘dove’ in Latin).

Infrared photographs reveal a detailed underdrawing. The areas of shadow in the Virgin’s drapery and on the tiles are indicated with minute parallel strokes (called hatching), sometimes crossed over to make it appear even denser (cross-hatching). The precision and the lack of alterations in the underdrawing suggest it was copied from an existing model in the master’s workshop by one of his assistants.

Key facts
Artist Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece
Artist dates active about 1470 to about 1510
Full title The Virgin and Child with Musical Angels
Date made about 1485-1500
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 52 x 38 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1985
Inventory number NG6499
Location in Gallery Room 62
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo