The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (1625 - 1630)
About this artwork
In this painting the Virgin and her mother, St. Anne, sit side by side. They offer the Christ Child an apple, a reference to the forbidden fruit Eve offered Adam in the Garden of Eden. It is also a symbol of the burden of the sins of mankind that Christ will bear. Benson’s elegant figures are painted with rich colours using his typically delicate touch, and both the Virgin and her mother are given equal compositional importance. This results in a superbly balanced image. In the left background, an angel draws water from the Fountain of Life. Benson was renowned for such small scale devotional pieces, teeming with incident and detail.
- title: The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
- accession number: NG 2024
- artist: Ambrosius BensonNetherlandish (active 1519 - died 1550)
- depicted: The Virgin Mary
- gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
- object type: Painting
- subject: Christianity Religious
- date created: 1625 - 1630
- measurements: Ogee top: 80.70 x 59.10 cm (framed: 95.40 x 71.50 x 9.20 cm)
- credit line: Purchased 1945
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
Benson was born in Lombardy, but moved to Bruges in the southern Netherlands after spending some time in Spain. He arrived in Bruges in 1518, and by the following year he had gained entry into the local guild of painters as an independent master. Benson was already a successful painter of portraits and altarpieces prior to his arrival, but in Bruges he worked for a short time in the studio of Gerard David. His paintings owe much to David’s style, but also reflect the art of his native Lombardy and the painters who worked there, such as Leonardo. Benson was enormously successful; his reputation brought him public commissions and his work was extremely sought after, fetching high prices.