Madonna and Child in a Niche, Joos van Cleve;  workshop
Joos van Cleve
Madonna and Child in a Niche
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Joos van Cleve workshop

Madonna and Child in a Niche, ca. 1520

51 x 38.6 x 0.6 cm
Physical Description
Oil on oak wood, thinned and cradled, on all sides modern additions
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1918 as part of the legacy of Fritz Berg
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters, room 20


About the Work

Like few other artists of his time, Joos van Cleve and his workshop provided the Antwerp art market with high-quality serially produced works. He specialized in paintings of the Virgin and Child, which were executed and assembled by himself, but also independently by workshop assistants drawing on various models approved by him. The infrared image of the painting shows the preparatory underdrawing beneath the layer of paint. The panel (initially inverted) was first used for a different composition of the Virgin and Child. Lines of dots visible on Mary’s right hand and the Infant’s robe suggest that a perforated cartoon and a sprinkling of pounce were used to transfer the original design accurately. Van Cleve’s workshop perfected systematic copying in the interest of a high volume of sales.

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