Beautiful oil on copper, very finely painted representing the Virgin with the baby Jesus, executed by a pupil or collaborator of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrick van Balen. These two artists who have collaborated a lot together are known for their production of religious and secular works faithful to the model that has met with great success: figures of biblical or mythological stories, placed in the heart of lush vegetation. Our artist inspired by the great Antwerp masters presents in his painting an episode of the biblical story in an imaginary place: Mary and her child rest during the flight to Egypt. The painter invites us to share this moment of intimacy with the mother and her child, settled in a clearing of a grove opening on a distant bright horizon. The seated Virgin breastfeeds the baby Jesus on his knees. She is dressed in a red dress and a blue coat whose many drapes surround her face. The fruits are placed on the ground in front of the group. The apples refer to the fall of the first human couple (Adam and Eve) as well as redemption and the possibility of finding lost paradise. Cherries symbolize Paradise and its eternal sweetness. The rose tree framing the scene on the right reminds us of the future passion of Christ. The meticulous and skilful execution of the vegetation reveals the artist's admiration for nature. By employing a palette of colors ranging from browns on the foreground to blues in the distance, the painter brings depth to the scene and dismantles a know-how and the art of perspective. This bright opening on the left contrasts with the dim light of the wood. The soft lighting highlights the center of the composition where Marie and her son are.
The atmosphere of peace and calm reigns in this clearing. The serenity of this work enriched by the finesse and precision of its execution, make it a wonderful example of the Antwerp school of 17th century.
Our painting is adorned with a 17th century Flemish ebonized and moulded wood frame.
Dimensions: oil on copper: h. 21.5 cm, l. 16.5 cm; box: h. 45.5 cm, l. 40