Woodcut printed from two blocks on two sheets of paperexpand_more
Gift of funds from Barbara S. Longfellowexpand_more 2016.15.1
Virgin and Child was clearly meant to be seen from a distance. The large, uncluttered composition allows the flowing lines to stand out. Its creator, Sebald Beham, meant it for public devotion. He used simple patterns of lines to make the cutting of the printing block quicker and cheaper, an important consideration for a work of art intended for a middle-class market. Most examples were probably affixed to walls and have long since perished from exposure to weather, insects, and vandalism. Of the hundreds printed, only about a dozen survive.
Virgin and Child is an outstanding addition to our growing collection of works by Beham, one of the finest artists to emerge from Dürer’s wake in 16th-century Nuremberg.