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oil panel by the early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. Probably executed between c. 1438–40, it depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus in a Gothic cathedral. Mary is presented as Queen of Heaven wearing a jewel-studded crown, cradling a playful child Christ who gazes at her and grips the hem of her red dress in a manner that recalls the 13th-century Byzantine tradition of the Eleusa icon (Virgin of Tenderness). Tracery in the arch at the rear of the nave contains wooden carvings depicting episodes from Mary's life, while a faux bois sculpture in a niche shows her holding the child in a similar pose. Erwin Panofsky sees the painting composed as if the main figures in the panel are intended to be the sculptures come to life. (Full article...)
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