The Virgin And Child
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Follower of Rogier van der Weyden, Netherlandish (c. 1399 - 1464)
Previously attributed to Rogier van der Weyden, Netherlandish (c. 1399 - 1464)
The Virgin and Child
Work Type
c. 1480
Creation Place: Europe, Netherlands, Bruges
Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on redwood panel
image: 55 x 35.5 cm (21 5/8 x 14 in.)
with modern cork strip around edge: 56.6 x 36.8 cm (22 5/16 x 14 1/2 in.)
frame: 66.2 x 44.4 x 7.2 cm (26 1/16 x 17 1/2 x 2 13/16 in.)
frame (hinged with 1906.6.B): 66.2 x 88.8 x 7.2 cm (26 1/16 x 34 15/16 x 2 13/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of George W. Harris in memory of John A. Harris (to Harvard College)
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

Label Text: 32Q: 2500 Renaissance , written 2014
Diptychs played an important devotional role in the Netherlands. The panels hinged together here are from two different workshops. The earlier one, showing the Virgin and Child (1906.6.A)., is based directly on a prototype by Rogier van der Weyden. Soon after its creation, it was paired with an image of a donor (1906.6.B) — identified by an epitaph on the reverse as Joos van der Burch, a court official — who is accompanied by Saint Simon of Jerusalem. A prayer written on a banderole rises from his clasped hands toward a window, through which we see the Crucifixion set in a landscape. Technical evidence suggests that the image was originally commissioned by Joos’s son, Simon van der Burch, who had himself portrayed alongside his patron saint. Simon’s likeness was later painted over with that of his father, perhaps as a demonstration of filial piety.

Publication History

Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 55, repr.

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), no. 362, p. 305, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 133, 169, repr. b/w cat. no. 96

Cyriel Stroo, Pascale Syfer-d'Olne, and Roel Slachmuylders, The Flemish Primitives, Brepols (Brussels, Belgium, 1996-2006), vol. I, pp. 167-173

Peter van den Brink, "The Art of Copying: Copying and Serial Production of Paintings in the Low Countries in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries", Bonnefantenmuseum / Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts (Maastricht, Netherlands / Brussels, Belgium, 2001), p. 15

Ron Spronk, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Early Years of Conservation and Technical Examination of Netherlandish Paintings of the Fogg Art Museum", Recent Developments in the Technical Examination of Early Netherlandish Painting, ed. Molly Faries, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), pp. 39-56, repr. p. 41 as fig. 3

Dr. Maryan W. Ainsworth, "'À la façon grèce': The Encounter of Northern Renaissance Artists wtih Byzantine Icons", Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557), ed. Helen Evans, Metropolitan Museum of Art / Yale University Press (New York, NY / New Haven, CT, and London, 2004), pp. 545-555, p. 554, repr. as fig. 17.15

Andrea Pearson, Envisioning Gender in Burgundian Devotional Art, 1350-1530, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. (Hampshire, England, 2005), p. 78, repr. in b/w p. 79; checklist no. 12, p. 196

John Oliver Hand, Catherine A. Metzger, and Ron Spronk, Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, exh. cat., Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT, and London, 2006), p. 22; no. 40, pp. 264-271, repr. in color with verso, details, IR,and cross-sections

John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk, ed., Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2006), pp. 24, 68, p. 58 note 19, p. 248 cat. no. 40

Stefano Benelli, La stoffa del XV secolo nella Capsella di Maso di Bartolomeo, Aión Edizioni (Florence, Italy, 2011), pp. 22-23, 25-27, 90, repr. as pl. 21

Douglas Brine, Pious Memories: The Wall-Mounted Memorial in the Burgundian Netherlands, Brill Academic Publishers (Boston) (Boston, 2015), pp. 51-52; repr. as fig. 22 p. 51

Andrea Pearson, "Personal Worship, Gender, and the Devotional Portrait Diptych", The Sixteenth Century Journal (spring 2000), vol. XXXI, no. 1, pp. 99-122, repr. p. 119

Exhibition History

Style and Technique: their Interrelation in Western European Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1936 - 12/31/1936

Northern European Art from 1450 to 1550, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/13/1994 - 02/05/1995

Prayers & Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 11/12/2006 - 02/04/2007; Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, 03/03/2007 - 05/27/2007

Re-View: S422-423 Western Art of the Middle Ages & Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Artstor Digital Library

Google Art Project

Related Works
Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted