Virgin and Child with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist

Saint Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary both seem to turn John the Baptist's head upward, as if offering it to the infant Jesus for his blessing. This scene is at once a representation of mothers tenderly interacting with their children and an allusion to Saint John’s martyrdom by decapitation. The atmospheric landscape sets the biblical figures not in the Holy Land, but in sixteenth-century Flanders. Given its small size, the panel was probably intended as a devotional picture for a private home.

Quinten Massys

South Netherlandish, 1466–1530

Virgin and Child with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist

c. 1520–25

Oil on panel

24 13/16 x 19 in. (63 x 48.2 cm) Frame: 29 5/8 x 23 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (75.2 x 60.3 x 5.7 cm)


Acquired by the Clark, 1998

1998.45


ON VIEW