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Attributed to Orley, Bernaert van (Flemish painter and draftsman, ca. 1492-ca. 1541) and studio, The Virgin and Child by a Fountain

Core Record

Title The Virgin and Child by a Fountain
Alternative Title Madonna lactans
Collection Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums): Kelvingrove Museum
Artist Attributed to Orley, Bernaert van (Flemish painter and draftsman, ca. 1492-ca. 1541) and studio
Previously attributed to Aldegrever, Heinrich (German printmaker, goldsmith, and painter, 1502-ca.1561)
Previously attributed to Bellegambe, Jean (Netherlandish painter, born ca. 1480, died 1534-1536)
Previously attributed to Gossaert, Jan (Flemish painter, ca. 1478-1532)
Previously attributed to Patinir, Joachim (early Netherlandish painter, ca.1485-1524)
Date Earliest probably about 1515
Date Latest about 1540

The Virgin, seated on the ground, offers a breast to the Christ Child, reclining in her lap. Her hair, centrally parted, falls in long curly tresses over her shoulders. Her legs are covered in swathes of red drapery, which is arranged in multiple folds over the ground in front of her. Around her is a dense carpet of flowers; to the right, a flowing circular marble fountain richly decorated with renaissance ornament. To the left, a tall tree. Behind, to the right, an extensive and imposing renaissance-style palace, from which emerges the balding figure of St Joseph; to the left, an extensive rolling landscape, with a multi-towered castle in mid-distance.

The subject of the Virgin sitting near a fountain is a common one throughout Northern European painting. Many details of hidden religious significance can be found in this beautiful painting probably by the Brussels painter Bernaert van Orley. The Virgin is sitting on the ground, a posture of humility, in 'a garden enclosed' (Song of Solomon, IV. 12), which is a reference to her virginity. The fountain itself, still lacking the last perfection in perspective, is a symbol of the water of everlasting life. The Child, looking up to Heaven, seems to refuse the earthly sustenance his Mother is offering.

Current Accession Number 201
Former Accession Number 120 (1855); 11 (1892)
Subject figure; religion (Virgin and Child)
Measurements 105.4 x 82.2 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel (hardwood {oak})
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan 1854.
Principal Exhibitions Exhibition of pictures by masters of the Netherlandish and allied schools of XV and early XVI centuries, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1892, cat. no. 38, as School of Mabuse (Jan Gossaert); Winter exhibition, Royal Academy, London, 1893, cat. no. 172, as by Mabuse; Exposition de Tableaux Flamandes de XIVe, Xve et XVIe siécles, Bruges, 1902, cat. no. 154, as by Mabuse; Exhibition of Works by the Early Flemish Painters, Guildhall, London, 1906, cat. no. 59, as by Mabuse; Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art, 1300-1900, Royal Academy, London, 1927, cat. no. 184, as by Mabuse; Flemish art, 1300-1700, Royal Academy, London, 1953-54, cat. no. 75, as by van Orley.
Publications Waagen, G. F., Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854, vol. 3, p. 289, as Patinir; The McLellan Gallery: Catalogue of Pictures Bequeathed to the People of Glasgow by the late Archibald McLellan, Glasgow, 1855, 'Centre Room: German Pictures', no. 120, p. 12, as Heinrich Aldegrever; Waagen, G. F., Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain ... Forming a Supplemental Volume to the Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1857, p. 461, no. 131; Pinnington, E., The Art Collection of the Corporation of Glasgow: Illustrated with Twenty-five Annan Photogravures, Glasgow 1898, p. 44 and repr.; Armstrong, W., 'The Corporation Gallery of Glasgow', Magazine of Art, 1890, p. 96 (engraved by A. Blossé, as the original of the picture ascribed to Mabuse at Milan; Friedländer, M. J., 'Die Leihausstellung der New Gallery in London: Januar - März; hauptsächlich niedeländische Gemälde', Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 23, 1900, p. 255, vol. 26, 1903, p. 165, vol. 29, 1906, p. 580, as by van Orley; Hulin de Loo, G., Exposition de Tableaux Flamandes de XIVe, Xve et XVIe siécles: Catalogue critique, Bruges, 1902, as van Orley; Hymans, H., L'Exposition des primitifs flamands á Bruges, 1902, p. 83, and repr. p. 77, as by Jean Bellegambe; The Fine Art Collection of Glasgow: with an Introductory Essay by James Paton, Glasgow, 1906, pl. 4; Friedländer, M. J., 'Bernaert van Orley', Jahrbuch der K. Preußischen Kunstsammlungen, vol. 30, 1909, p. 23, as a replica of the picture at Milan, about 1515-20; Conway, M., The Van Eycks and their Followers, London, 1921, p. 421; Winkler, F. Die altniederländische Malerei, Berlin, 1924, p. 258, Friedländer, M. J., Die altniederländische Malerei, Leiden, vol. 8, 1930, no. 126, as van Orley, replica of the picture at Milan; Lavalleye, J, in B. van Orley, 1943, p. 54 ; Dutch and Flemish Netherlandish and German Paintings, Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums, 1961, vol. 1, text, p. 102-03; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum: The Building and the Collections: with an Introduction by Alasdair A. Auld, London and Glasgow, 1987, p. 112, ill. 1; Farmer, J. D., 'How One Workshop Worked: Bernard von Orley's Atelier in Early Sixteenth-Century Brussels', A Tribute to Robert A. Koch: Studies in the Northern Renaissance, Princeton, 1994, p. 28 and ill. 4, as B. v. Orley and workshop; Nouviale, C., La Virgen de la Leche: Sus Ultimas Revelaciones, Caracas, 1999, pp. [23, 25], fig. 21; Hamburger, J. F., 'Body vs Book: The Trope of Visibility in Images of Christian-Jewish Polemic', in Ganz, D. and Lentes, H. (eds), Ästhetik des Unsichtbaren: Bildtheorie und Bildgebrauch in der Vormoderne, I, Berlin, 2004, pp. 134-139., fig. 24.

Exhibition labels on the back of the painting: Corporation of London Exhibition, Guildhall, 'Examples of the Flemish and Belgian Sc ...' (over an older, partially abraded label), 'Exhibtion of Flemish and Belgian Art', no. in white chalk '107'.

Cleaning of the picture, completed in January 1981, has revealed 'Significant alterations to Virgin's hand'.

In older gallery catalogues as Mabuse.

Rights Owner Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)
Author Dr Heiner Krellig and Robert Wenley



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