Virgin and Child Enthroned with Two
Oil on oak panel, 68,2 x 51,5 cm
St Osyth's Priory, St Osyth
By Hans Memling (b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)
Three other variations of this Virgin and Child type appear in Memling's oeuvre. It is based on an invention of Rogier van der Weyden. The composition itself is most closely related to the Virgin Enthroned in Berlin, which also takes place in a room with two windows and a stone throne with volute armrests. The throne in St Osyth is not, however, white but amber coloured and is profusely decorated with tracery, foliage and trails, and little sculptures in white stone. The sculpture that tops the throne represents the archangel expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The link with the Incarnation as the work's principal theme is clear. Recent cleaning showed the painting to be less damaged than had initially been feared, and uncovered the uppermost part of the house that can be made out hazily through the stained glass of the right window. The style matches that of Memling's later works, produced from the end of the 1480s onwards.