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The Virgin, St. Anne, and the Christ Child

The Antwerp artist known as the Master of 1518 takes his name from an altarpiece dated 1518 at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, Germany. Based on technical analysis of this painting’s under-drawing, it has been determined to be the work of an artist associated with the Master of 1518, perhaps in his workshop. This panel was likely once part of a small altarpiece that would have been used in a chapel or perhaps in a home. The composition is arranged in the form of a cross. The vertical axis reveals the Holy Trinity: God (at the top of the composition), the Holy Spirit (symbolized by a dove), and Christ. The infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and his grandmother St. Anne form the horizontal axis. This image has affinities with a theme known as the Holy Kinship, in which the infant Jesus was depicted with members of his extended family. Holy Kinship imagery was popular in northern Europe in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

Circle of the Master of 1518
Netherlandish, active from 1518
The Virgin, St. Anne, and the Christ Child
ca. 1518‒20
Oil on panel
32 5/8 x 21 in. (82.9 x 53.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 84.54