Skip to main content
The Virgin standing in a Niche
Workshop of Quinten Massys

This work and Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child are the outer and inner faces of the right shutter of an altarpiece. No other elements of this altarpiece are known but the central panel probably showed the Virgin and Child enthroned, as in Saint Luke’s picture. The lost left outer face probably represented a full-length figure of Christ.

The Virgin stands in a niche weeping and folding her hands in prayer. She is similar to the various half-length Virgins from the Massys workshop who are often paired with images of Christ.

Key facts
Artist Workshop of Quinten Massys
Artist dates 1465/6 - 1530
Full title The Virgin standing in a Niche
Series Panel from a Triptych
Date made about 1520?
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 114.8 × 35.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924
Inventory number NG3901
Location in Gallery Not on display
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
Download low resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo

Panel from a Triptych


These two paintings – Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child and The Virgin standing in a Niche – are, in fact, the back and front of the same panel, which has been sawn through its thickness. They once formed the right wing of a triptych (a painting made in three parts). Although they have been cut on all four sides, not much has been lost and the triptych must have been tall and narrow in format. The centre panel probably showed the Virgin and Child enthroned, much as they appear in the picture Saint Luke is shown painting.

Differences in technique suggest they were by different painters, but both are close to the style of Massys and follow many of his technical procedures. They may well have been produced by two or more assistants in his workshop or by painters who trained there and continued to work together after leaving.