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The Madonna by the Fountain

A work made of engraving on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving on ivory laid paper.




Master M.Z.
German, active 1500-1550

About this artwork

The artist known as Master M. Z. produced a number of idiosyncratic devotional and secular engraved subjects in Northern Germany around the beginning of the 16th century. This massively sculptural Madonna fills a dainty cup for the Christ Child from a fountain spout with the features of a lion or possibly a monkey. The composition closely recalls Albrecht Dürer’s well-known Madonna with the Monkey. While Dürer’s Christ Child has been distracted by a bird, here the large, naked Christ tugs at the tunic of the tender, if slightly amused Virgin, as if to suggest breast milk would be preferable to water.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Master MZ


The Madonna by the Fountain


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Printed 1496–1506


Engraving on ivory laid paper


Sheet trimmed within platemark: 17.9 × 14.6 cm (7 1/16 × 5 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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