The Virgin and Child Seated at the Foot of a Tree, 1522
Jan Gossart (called Mabuse) (Netherlandish, ca. 1478–1532)
Engraving; plate: 4 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (12 x 8.5 cm), sheet: 4 7/8 x 3 7/16 in. (12.4 x 8.7 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1991 (1991.1167)
As he so often did in his paintings, Gossart combined Renaissance and Gothic motifs in his prints. Here, the figure types derive from Italian Renaissance sculpture. Most notably, the child's unusual gesture, with his arm turned backward, derives from The Madonna of the Steps, a relief by Michelangelo (1490–92, Casa Buonarroti, Florence). The nervous folds of the drapery are typical of Northern Gothic art. The theme itself derives from a number of prints created by Gossart's German contemporary Albrecht Dürer, who visited the Netherlands in 1520–21 and consequently inspired a number of Netherlandish artists to make prints after his work.