This subject is the most common theme in religious painting and sculpture in all of Christian art, in comparison to the crucifixion, even though it does not refer to any biblical text.
It is undoubtedly a result of numerous representations of the woman and her child in many cultures of the world (the Egyptian goddess Isis suckling Harpocrates, the Horus child), including in pre-Christian Europe. The Child will be present in the 11th and 13th century, and become less present in the 14th and especially at the time of the Counter Reform, where it disappeared to emphasize a pure Virgin.
The line of sight between the mother and child has been the subject of numerous studies and interpretations, as well as the symbolic signs of the child's fingers and hands.
Northern France or Flanders, 1st half of the 17th c.
Old linen fabric strips on the back, no frame.