Madonna and Child

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Jan Gossaert, called Mabuse
Flemish (1478–1532)
Madonna and Child
, ca. 1525–1532
Oil on panel

In 1508 Gossaert traveled from his home in Belgium to Rome in the company of his greatest art patron, Philip of Burgundy. While in Italy the Flemish artist was immersed in the styles and themes of the Italian Renaissance. As a result, the ornate quality of his late Gothic paintings gave way to the more broadly idealized manner of his Southern contemporaries. By 1520, Gossaert had become the first great interpreter of the Renaissance style, an aesthetic pioneer who prepared the way for the rise of Italian influence in sixteenth-century painting.

The solidity of the Virgin’s form and the symmetrical beauty of her face show the influence of Leonardo da Vinci, while her gilded ringlets, pearly flesh, as well as the infant’s textural curls, transparent gown, and minutely pleated sash reveal the artist’s distinctive taste for richly detailed ornamentation.