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Workshop of Dirk Bouts, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Workshop of Dirk Bouts
Artist dates 1400? - 1475
Date made about 1465
Medium and support Oil with egg tempera on oak
Dimensions 20.2 × 14.3 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG708
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Dirk Bouts

The Virgin and Child are shown as an affectionate mother and laughing infant. Christ holds an apple, alluding to the fruit with which Eve tempted Adam in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, leading to the Fall of Man.

Devotion to Mary was an important part of a great flowering of private religious activity in the fifteenth century: as a human mother she was seen as more approachable than Christ or God the Father. Small devotional panels like this were used for private prayer and meditation.

This painting’s condition makes it difficult to judge accurately its relationship to Dirk Bouts. The drawing is good and the draperies and patterned textile are very similar to those in pictures attributed to Bouts himself. It was probably made in his workshop.

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