2012: Advent Art History: The Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar, December 09

by on December 9, 2012

Virgin and Child

Juan de Flandes


I’ve chosen today’s painting for the composition.

In this painting, the Christ Child is supported by a ledge. This was a common pictorial device in the second half of the fifteenth century. Ledges are generally there to lead the viewer into the painting, and to blur the distinction between the painted space and the viewers’ space.

This is a little later than the majority of images I will be posting. Juan de Flandres wasn’t at the cutting edge of artistic innovation. Instead, he worked in the commercially successful and highly popular style of artists of his parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Traditionally, art historians have tended not to value this kind of work as highly as progressive works (at this time exemplified by the work done by Michaelangelo and Raphael for Pope Leo X in Rome). But works like this can tell us so much about the culture that produced them, and scholars have picked up on this over the past few decades.

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