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Madonna and Child

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Madonna and Child

Culture: Flemish
Date: c. 1540
Medium: Oil and tempera on panel
Dimensions:
27 3/4 x 18 inches (70.5 x 45.7 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Anonymous gift
Label Text:This image of the Virgin Mary and Christ child is significant for what it can tell the viewer about its own material history. Changes made to the painting, whether for conservation purposes or due to shifts in taste over time, are reminders of the life of the object as it passed between owners and moved from place to place. Such changes can be seen in the sky, where substantial repainting lacks the network of fine cracks that have occurred with aging elsewhere on the image’s surface. Other areas of retouching include Christ’s face, arms, and torso. Some foliage behind the Madonna and elongated tips for her crown were also added to the painting. X-rays and other technical analyses have further revealed an underdrawing and paint layers no longer visible to the naked eye. The X-rays provide visual evidence that Christ’s left leg was once straight instead of bent, and the Virgin’s hair was pulled back. Also visible on the left of the X-ray are eight white horizontal lines, and one long vertical band, which indicate where extra wooden supports were added to the back of the panel in order to conjoin splits in the wood. These alterations, as well the discoloration of certain pigments (the Virgin’s dress originally would have been blue), present a drastically different version of the painting to today’s viewers than would have been experienced in the mid-1500s.
Object number: 1991.2.1
In Collection(s)