Madonna and Child

Master IW

Master IW - Madonna and Child
The work represents an interesting composition, combining several types and motifs of the Cranach Marian paintings. Here a reaction can also be seen to the influence of Albrecht Dürer - in particular his engraving of the Madonna seated on a grassy bench or the painting of the Madonna and Child from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. In our painting the Madonna is seated on a grassy bench and the view of the landscape is partly concealed by a red curtain. The Child is standing on a cushion, with an apple in his right hand. Mary holds a second apple in her right hand, analogically depicted as a second Eve. The author of this panel came from Cranach's workshop; he adopted the individual motifs precisely, but nevertheless Mary's face, the linear execution of the folds of her veil, the curtain slightly revealing the countryside, indicate a different author, concretely Master IW. This painter, who was active first of all in Cranach's workshop, subsequently became independent and established his own workshop. In the space of the years roughly 1520/1525-1540/1550 he supplied paintings in particular to the border area of Northwest Bohemia (mainly the monastery at Osek, Kadan, Most, Litoměřice and also Prague). Researchers have often tried to link his initials with various names, such as that of the Louny painter Jan Wrtilka, then Johann Willenstein or Jakob Woydt - but sufficient arguments or sources could not be found for any of these hypotheses. The Madonna and Child is dated 1525, but it does not bear the monogram IW. We can nevertheless ascribe it to him on the basis of the style comparison. The face of Mary, the treatment of her hair and drapery are very close to the same saint on the panel of the Visitation on the Želinsky Altarpiece; the curtain and the landscape, bordered by a small wall, again appears on the panel entitled Judith with the Head of Holofernes from the collections of the Strahov Monastery (1525). A further indication of Master IW is the use of the Dürer model and further analogies that were uncovered in the course of the technological investigation.
measurements: height 76 cm
width 56 cm
material: fir wood
technique: oil
inventory number: DO 4186
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters