The Virgin and Child

The Christ Child rests on the lap of the Virgin; she holds a book and he has just blown a soap bubble resting on a mussel shell. This action probably relates to the saying  'Man is a bubble' ('Homo Bulla'), which was in common usage in the 16th century. It was used by painters and other artists as a reminder of mortality.

 

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
about 1470; died 1535/6
Full title
The Virgin and Child
Date made
about 1520
Medium and support
Oil on oak
Dimensions
71.3 × 52.8 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1854
Inventory number
NG265
Location in Gallery