• Old Masters and 19th Century A auction at Christies

    Sale 7842

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    30 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 5

    Workshop of Gerard David (Oudewater, near Gouda c. 1460-1523 Bruges)

    The Holy Virgin and Child with the Milk Soup

    Price Realised  


    Workshop of Gerard David (Oudewater, near Gouda c. 1460-1523 Bruges)
    The Holy Virgin and Child with the Milk Soup
    oil on panel, unframed
    16¾ x 12 7/8 in. (42.5 x 32.6 cm.)

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    This composition was one of Gerard David's most highly sought-after, with several autograph versions extant, the finest of which belongs to the Aurora Trust, New York. Other autograph versions are in the Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, and the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, while a fine workshop version is in the Deutz collection, San Diego California. In 1515 David ('Meester Gheraert van Brugghe') became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp, in order to obtain permission to sell his works in that city, and it is thought that the Milk Soup series may have been painted for the open market there. The present workshop version differs from the standard composition in certain nuances: the Christ-Child turns His head towards the Virgin; there are three apples on the window-sill; and the landscape glimpsed through the window is more extensive. All of the extant versions, including the prime version with the Aurora Trust, show an underdrawing transferred from a cartoon (see M. Ainsworth, Gerard David: The Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition, New York, 1998, pp. 295-308, figs. 284-94), as does the present version, with a characteristic pattern of dotted pouncing visible in the infrared.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Private collection, Spain, since the nineteenth century, and by descent to the present owner.