Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog number 57.1
Artist Rubens, Peter Paul
Artist 2 Snyders, Frans
Title Madonna and Child
Date ca. 1617 AD
Object Name Painting
Description During the 16th century Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, was pivotal for the appreciation and dissemination of art from Flanders, where he was born, to Spain, where he ruled as King Charles I. Consequently, Flemish prints and paintings were exported to the Spanish empire in the Americas during the age of exploration (c. 1400-1600). The art of the Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens, in particular, may be the most significant Flemish influence in the development of Andean painting during the colonial period, with many of the artist's works already distributed to the New World during his lifetime. Paintings like the Madonna and Child became essential compositional aids for Andean artists in Cuzco and elsewhere. Here, we are confronted with an intimate, tender image of maternal love, where the Virgin and Child are placed in a domestic context, stripped of their heavenly regalia. The emphasis is on a more humanized version of the theme of the Virgin and Child, as advocated by the Counter-Reformation. For that aggressive movement, religious works served a didactic purpose: to evoke an emotional and moral response in a devout population. In the New World such images were used by religious missionary orders as instructional guides in the conversion of indigenous populations to the Catholic religion.
Arianne Fernandez, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, 53.

Although this work depicts the Virgin Mother guiding her son as he takes his first steps, the narrative is merely an afterthought. Such a scene is not described in the Bible. Rather, the focus is on the characters. While the influence of contemporary painters like Caravaggio is clear in the muscular depiction of the Christ child, the painting reflects the method of portraying important figures with idealized bodies and long, graceful features that was common during the period. This elongation is particularly apparent in the depiction of the Virgin, when one compares her to the squat, hunched proportions of peasants depicted elsewhere in the exhibition. This image was reproduced by a member of Rubens’s workshop after the left wing of an altarpiece called Christ a la Paille executed by Rubens himself.

Anthony Biondolillo in "Re-Forming the Image in Northern Europe in the Dutch Golden Age", ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 4-April 27, 2013
Medium/Material Oil Paint
Dimensions H-40.5 W-29 inches
Year Range from 1615.0
Year Range to 1624.0
Search Terms Baroque
Central Europe (including Germany)
Madonna and Child
17th century AD
New Testament
Exhibition and Publication History *Waagen, G.F., Die Gemaldesammlung in der Kaiserlichen Ermitage zu St. Petersburg..., Munich, 1864, pp. 136-37.
*Queens College Art Collection, NY, 1960, #266
*Taylor, Joshua. National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, 1978, p. 23.
*"Art From the Queens College Collection, Part I," Queens City Art and Cultural Center, NY, 1971(?), #11.
*"Goddess, Mother, Symbol: Images of Women in World Art" James Saslow, Curator. 1994, #31, pp.22-23.
*"Mary at the 3rd Millennium" Hillwood Art Museum, 2000.
*"Director's Choice, Part II." A. Winter, Curator. Fall 2002.
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 52, ill.
* "Reforming the Image in Northern Europe in the Dutch Golden Age," February 4, 2013 - March 23, 2013, Curated by Christopher Atkins, G-T M, Queens College, CUNY.
Culture Flemish