European Art, 1400-1800 - 7 of 9
Virgin and Child with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist
Oil on panel
63 x 48.2 cm
Acquired by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1998
This exquisite painting was no doubt intended as a private devotional altarpiece. The meeting of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist has no scriptural basis, but the gathering can be seen as a commentary on the lineage of Christ and his relationship to the prophet John the Baptist. Massys sets his figures in a thoroughly convincing panoramic landscape, one that seems infused with a divine presence.