Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 14841540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood; Overall 28 3/8 x 21 1/4 in. (72.1 x 54 cm); painted surface 27 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. (70.5 x 52.7 cm)
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.47)
Two iconographic themes are combined here: the joys of motherhood and the sorrowful premonition of Christ's death. The image of the Virgin and her sleeping child contains a reference to the Pietà, and the fruit, as well, symbolizes Christ's death and sacrifice. The verses in the illuminated prayer book are taken from the Magnificat, celebrating the Annunciation and the De Profundis (employed in the Mass for the dead). The background of this beautifully preserved picture was provided by a landscape specialist.