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Most art historians believe that NG656 was painted towards the end of Gossart’s career. The clothes, perhaps official dress, seem to include archaic as well as fashionable elements and are difficult to date; but the man’s haircut is like that of the Brussels donor who is dressed in the fashion of about 1520, as is his wife.19 The architecture in NG656 and in the copies of the ‘Virgin and Child’ with which it seems to have been paired resembles that in the Munich ‘Danaë’, dated 1527.20 The Prado ‘Virgin and Child’ may also be related to the ‘Danaë’. Baldung’s version of the missing ‘Virgin’ is dated 1530 and is likely to have been painted shortly after the original. Baldung’s patron may have commissioned a version of a painting which had attracted such admiration.

Baldung worked in Strasbourg. It may prove possible to discover whether he knew Gossart’s lost ‘Virgin’ in the original or from a drawing; or whether Gossart’s patron, possibly an official of the Council of Holland, might have had some connection with Strasbourg.

Further Sections

19. Friedländer, vol. VIII, No. 6; Ainsworth in Ainsworth et al. 2010, p. 285, dated the portraits around 1528–30, which seems rather too late. Compare the clothes and haircut in Massys’s portrait of Pieter Gillis, painted in 1517 (private collection: Friedländer, vol. VIII, no. 37), and the clothes of the woman in the portrait dated 1520 and attributed to Joos van Cleve (Uffizi: Friedländer, vol. IX, no. 118).

20. Friedländer, vol. VIII, no. 48.