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Margaret of Austria

Jean Hey (called Master of Moulins) (Netherlandish, active fourth quarter 15th century)

ca. 1490
Oil on oak panel
12 7/8 x 9 1/8 in. (32.7 x 23 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The daughter of Emperor Maximilian I, Margaret of Austria was betrothed at the age of three to the infant dauphin Charles, the future Charles VIII. She is shown here around the age of ten, one year before she was repudiated by her intended husband. The initials C and M within the border of Margaret's collar (backwards C in the left border) signify their union. The elaborate pendant of a pelican piercing its breast to draw blood with which to feed its young (its blood represented by the large hanging ruby), a symbol of Christian charity, alludes to the sitter's piety. Margaret holds a large Paternoster bead of her rosary and looks to the right, presumably toward (what was originally) the object of her devotion. The right wing of this diptych, now lost, would have shown the Virgin and Child.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Painted on the reverse: the coat of arms of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York, with their initials, C and M, tied together with love knots in the four corners.

  • Provenance

    Don Sebastián Gabriel de Beaujeu, Braganza y Borbón, infante of Spain and Portugal; his son, Prince Pierre de Bourbon et Bourbon, duke of Dúrcal, Paris; his sale, American Art Association, Chickering Hall, New York, 10-11 April 1889, lot 24 (as "Doña Juana La Loca" by Hans Holbein the Elder; not sold); his sale, Haro Frères et Bloche, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 3, 1890, lot 23 (as Jean La Folle by Holbein); sold to Prince Manuel de Yturbe, Paris; his granddaughter, Princess Yturbe, Paris; sold to [F. Kleinberger Galleries, New York], 1926. Acquired by Philip Lehman from Kleinberger in March 1926.

  • See also