MARCELLUS COFFERMANS

Virgin with Child, 1560 ca.
Olio on panel, cm 11,6×8,4

 

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The work, which draws its charm from its “postcard” size as well as from its exceptional state of conservation, is comparable to some of Coffermans’ best works. The composition  of the Holy Family with Angels – the only signed piece and therefore instrumental to reconstruct the pictorial corpus – clearly shows that the same physiognomic model for the Virgin Mary and Child was used. In addition, it is the unique handling of the material surfaces that proves the painter’s technical ability, constantly striving to spread the style of the Flemish Primitives. The ability to render the nuanced interplay of light and shadow on the skin of the faces, the pasty  colour ranges, the characters’ quiet composure of the sentimental moves, unite the Crucifixion preserved at the Museo Nacional de San Carlos with our Madonna: her face intimately connected to that of the Child, the tawny hair that can be noticed under the transparent veil, the crimson mantle from which a velvet dress rendered through chromatic mutations emerges, the typically tapered hands and the completely dark background, in which the characters stand out as a single metaphysical entity, are means to express the moderndevotion, a particular form of Christian worship that was widespread in the Flanders in the 1500s and which called for an intense religious communion with Christ and the Virgin Mary, also by means of a fervent devotion to sacred images. This practice has very ancient roots in Nordic countries and originates from the late medieval sacred representations.
To achieve their purpose the perfect realism was precisely that of Flemish art of the 1400s and 1500s, in which realistic details were accentuated and used as symbols, following the footsteps of Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck.
A piece whose powerful symbolism is capable of imposing itself on the viewer with the strength of a transcendent vision, a real conquest of the Flemish art of the beginnings, which was able to combine reality and symbol like no other.

 

Price range:
10.000 – 50.000 €