The Medieval Lawn » Virgin and Child with Four Angels, ca. 1510-15

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Virgin and Child with Four Angels, ca. 1510-15

Gerard David (Netherlandish, b. ca. 1455, died 1523). Virgin and Child with Four Angels, ca. 1510–15. Oil on wood; 24 7/8 x 15 3/8 in. (63.2 x 39.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1977 (1977.1.1).

Although the porch where the Virgin stands poised to be crowned represents Heaven, the artist renders a realistic depiction of a monastic garth, in which a monk in a Carthusian habit walks in the background. The city of Bruges can be seen beyond the enclosing wall. Several buildings can be identified, and the monastery represented may be the monastery of Genadedal (Maryan W. Ainsworth, Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition, 1998).

David has gone beyond the conventional rendering of the allegorical hortus conclusus, the enclosed garden of the Virgin, and depicted an actual garden with ragged and meandering paths. Note the English daisies that powder the grass of the garth.

See the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History to learn more about this work of art.

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