Arts & Culture

Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child

Follower of Quinten Massysabout 1520?

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London

This work and 'A Female Figure standing in a Niche' are the outer and inner faces of the right shutter of an altarpiece. No other elements of this altarpiece are known. The female figure may represent the Virgin Mary or another holy woman.

According to legend, Saint Luke painted the Virgin and Child and he is therefore often depicted at an easel or with brushes and palette in hand. The theme was especially popular with Netherlandish painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Read more


  • Title: Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child
  • Creator: Follower of Quinten Massys
  • Date Created: about 1520?
  • School: Early Netherlandish
  • Physical Dimensions: w349 x h1137 cm
  • More Info: More Artist Information
  • Inventory number: NG3902
  • Artist Biography: Massys was the leading painter in Antwerp in the early 16th century. He was born in Louvain and his earliest works show the influence of Memling, who had been active in Bruges. His later works show some Italian influence, particularly that of Leonardo. He was notable as a portraitist as well as a religious painter. Massys is first recorded in Antwerp, on becoming a member of the guild there in 1491, when the town was beginning to assume importance as the main port of the Netherlands. There are dated and datable paintings by Massys from 1509 onwards, the year of the completion of his altarpiece of the 'Legend of Saint Anna' (now in the Brussels Museum). In Antwerp, Massys was closely associated with Joachim Patinir, and seems to have supplied figures for his landscapes.
  • Acquisition Credit: Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: The National Gallery, London
  • Medium: Oil on oak

Discover more