Virgin and Child

Flemish (Malines)
about 1640
Workshop of Jan van Doorne III (1616–1683)

Object Place: Malines, Flanders


21.6 x 8 x 5.7 cm (8 1/2 x 3 1/8 x 2 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, boxwood

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)





Although formerly assigned to Augsburg, about 1570, this intriguing and sophisticated statuette reveals the classicism of the Mannerist style as it appeared in Flanders between the Renaissance and baroque periods. It is a product of the prolific workshop of Jan van Doorne III of Malines. A stylistically related boxwood statuette, in the Musée Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp, is dated 1640. The bunch of grapes held by the Christ Child is a common symbol of the Eucharist, and reminiscent of the bacchic putti in the work of Gerard van Obstal (1594-1668) and other contemporary sculptors. The madonna would have worn a metal crown to symbolize her role as Queen of Heaven.

This standing Virgin and Child has great elegance and style. The small sculpture is both imposing and charming, from the Virgin’s expansive hairstyle and her necklace of pearls and precious stone, to her elaborately draped clothing and the ease with which she supports the Christ Child on her thigh. Christ holds a bunch of grapes, which surely refers to the Eucharist, yet the overall effect is one of calm regality, which would have been further emphasized by the Virgin’s crown which is now missing.


Before 1966, Mathias Komor (b. 1909 - d. 1984), New York; by March 1966, sold by Mathias Komor to John Goelet, New York; 1976, gift of John Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1977)

Credit Line

Gift of John Goelet in honor of Hanns Swarzenski