About This Artwork

Workshop of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (Master of the Berlin Sketchbook?)
Netherlandish, c. 1470/75–by 1533

The Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist, c. 1520

Oil on panel
34 x 27.4 cm (13 3/8 x 10 13/16 in.)
Image: 33.5 x 26.5 cm (13 3/16 x 10 5/16 in.)
Inscribed: M.DA.NO and .REGINA (on hem of the Virgin’s mantle)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1011

Pairing the figures of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, this panel was probably once the right half of a diptych. A representation of Christ after the Crucifixion, a type characterized as the "Man of Sorrows," probably filled the lost left-hand panel and would have been the object of the tearful gazes of Mary and John and also of the meditation of the diptych’s owner. The textured gold background suggests that the figures exist in a visionary space, suited to the meditative function of the ensemble. The painting’s style and its underdrawing suggest that it may be the work one of Jacob Cornelisz.’s close associates, an artist who has been named for a sketchbook preserved in Berlin).

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Loan Exhibition of Religious Art from the Fourth Century to the Present Time, 1930, no. 20.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, 1933, no. 39.

Publication History

Max J. Friedländer, review of Kurt Steinbart, Die Tafelgemälde des Jakob Cornelisz von Amsterdam, in Kunstchronik und Kunstmarkt, n.s., 34 (1923), pp. 605–06.

Kurt Steinbart, “Nachlese im Werke des Jacob Cornelisz,” Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft 5 (1929), p. 256.

Max J. Friedländer, Die altniederländische Malerei, vol. 12, Leiden, 1935, p. 196, no. 275; rev. English ed., Early Netherlandish Painting, Brussels and Leiden, 1975, p. 117, no. 275, pl. 148.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection, 1961, pp. 84–85.

K. G. Boon, Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, The Hague, 1978, p. 52, under no. 144. Sutton 1986, p. 49.

Jane L. Carroll, “The Paintings of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (1472–1533),” Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina,Chapel Hill, 1987 (Ann Arbor, Mich., University Microfilms, 1988), pp. 307–08, cat. D5, fig. 90.

Martha Wolff in Martha Wolff et al., Northern European and Spanish Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2008, pp. 184-88, ill.

Ownership History

Duc de Blacas, Paris; sold to Kleinberger, Paris, Feb. 21, 1914; sold to Ryerson, June 18, 1914; Martin A. Ryerson (d. 1932), Chicago; by descent to his widow (d. 1937), Chicago; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1937.

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