Follower of Robert Campin|
American Nineteenth Century (painter)
Robert Campin (related artist)
Netherlandish, c. 1375 - 1444
Madonna and Child with Saints in the Enclosed Garden, c. 1440/1460
oil on panel
painted surface: 119.8 x 148.5 cm (47 3/16 x 58 7/16 in.) overall (panel): 122.2 x 151.2 cm (48 1/8 x 59 1/2 in.) framed: 138.7 x 166.7 x 9.5 cm (54 5/8 x 65 5/8 x 3 3/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Object 2 of 9
Conservation NotesThe panel is made up of five horizontal boards. The unpainted edge on all sides suggests that the panel was painted in an engaged frame. The present frame is a composite construction, the oak bottom member, including the inscription, being older than the softwood top and side elements to which it is joined. The painting was cleaned and disfiguring overpaint removed in the 1830s. The panel was cradled in 1947 by Stephen Pichetto, and the painting was partially cleaned and restored at that time. A fire on 26 December 1956 left the paint surface blistered, stained, and darkened. Mario Modestini secured the blisters and in 1958-1959 cleaned and restored the painting. In spite of its history, the painting is in relatively good condition. There is inpainting along the joins and in scattered areas throughout the picture. There is also a certain amount of abrasion throughout. Larger areas of loss and inpainting occur in the Baptist's proper right leg and the robe above it, in some lower parts of the Virgin's robe, and at the base of her neck.
The figures are underdrawn with the brush, using long strokes and some rather widely spaced cross hatching. The position of the heads has been adjusted slightly in relation to the underdrawing. The four saints onginally had round halos with concentric rings that were incised in the ground layer and apparently prepared in gold. These are visible under the microscope and with infrared reflectography. They seem to have been overpainted in the course of the painting process. Gold is also used as the background of the cloth hanging from the back wall. A green paint layer forms the brocade pattern, with the gold background showing through as schematized flowers.
 The frame and inscription are shown in the print in Speyers 1839, opp. 182. The inscription reads: O maria consolatrix. Esto nobis advocatrix Rogans regem glorie Ut nos Jungat Superis Donans nobis miseris / Post Spem frui Specie Que regina diceris Miserere [p?]osteris Virgo mater Gracie Amen (O Mary, our comforter, intercede for us asking the King of Glory that we may rejoin those on high, granting to us, wretches, the fulfillment of hope of seeing him. Thou, who art called Queen, Have mercy on us later born, Virgin Mother of Grace). The inscription is followed by a housemark. The same housemark appears as part of the illumination of a copy of Boethius' De Consolatione Philosophiae printed in Ghent in 1485 by Arend de Keysere, now in the Library of Congress; repro. in Sandra Hindman and James Douglas Farquhar, Pen to Press: Illustrated Manuscripts and Printed Books in the First Century of Printing [exh. cat. University of Maryland Art Department Gallery] (College Park, Maryland, 1977), pl. 3. While noting that the calligraphy of inscriptions needs further study, both Paul Saenger of the Northwestern University Library and P.F.J. Obbema of the Leiden University Library were inclined to date this inscription to the early sixteenth century, citing, for example, the type of flourishes and the form of the s (letters of 31 March 1983 and 23 June 1983 in curatorial files).
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