Bernard van Orley

The Virgin and Child

c. 1518-1520
This is the left half of a diptych, a pair of panels hinged together. The other half, now lost, showed Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands. The Christ Child has stopped nursing from his mother’s breast to turn to Margaret, commanding her veni, “come.” This format divides the holy figures from the portrait, but the continuous space – the room in which they all appear – unites them. A diptych of this size is an intimate work, meant to be held: we must imagine the action of opening and unfolding the work for contemplation.
Title
The Virgin and Child
Date
c. 1518-1520
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil and mordant gilding on oak
Dimensions
24 x 18 cm
Nationality
Flemish
Credit line
Purchased 1984
Accession number
28531