Saint Luke drawing the Virgin
Dieric Bouts the elder (Haarlem c.1415 – Louvain 1475)
Legend has it that the apostle and evangelist Saint Luke painted the Virgin, possibly from a vision. The subject of Saint Luke, patron saint of painters (as well as physicians), seen depicting the Virgin was popular with 15th century Netherlandish artists and would often have been commissioned in mediaeval times by the painters' Guilds of St Luke and their academies and paintings of which are found in chapels dedicated to the saint. In this painting Luke, which also may be a self-portrait of the artist, if not a member of the confraternity that commissioned the picture, is shown standing, with one knee bent, on a tiled floor, making a preliminary drawing, in silverpoint, of the Virgin, who appears next to him in corporeal form with the Christ Child who is not being breast-fed but being offered a piece of fruit. His prepared painted panel stands on an easel in his room, seen though a door on the right of the picture and a landscape can be seen through an arcade in the centre. It is derived from a painting of the same subject by Rogier van der Weyden, painted about 1435, in Brussels, a prime example of which is in Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and ultimately derives from Van Eyck's 'Virgin and Child with Chancellor Rolin' in the Louvre. It was bought about 1850 by Edward, Lord Penrhyn, from Mr Scoltock (tutor of his sons), who had bought it whilst travelling abroad with the late Lord Ashburton. Lord Penrhyn gave about £100 or so for it, and ‘never cared for it at all’. In 1899, being in a bad state, it was found necessary to transfer it from panel to canvas, when it was discovered that the picture had been much repaired some time ago, several white patches appearing where the paint had been restored, but the heads and figures and all important parts of the picture were intact.
Oil and tempera painting on canvas (transferred from panel in 1899), Saint Luke drawing the Virgin, Dieric Bouts the elder (Haarlem c.1415 – Louvain 1475). The subject of Saint Luke, patron saint of painters, seen depicting the Virgin was popular with 15th-century Netherlandish artists and would often have been commissioned by the painters' Guild of St Luke. Tiled floor; landscape through arcade; view through door right. It is derived from Rogier van der Weyden, an example of which is in Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and ultimately from Van Eyck's 'Virgin and Child with Chancellor Rolin' in the Louvre.
Purchased by Colonel the Hon. Edward Douglas-Pennant, 1st Baron Penrhyn of Llandegai (1800 – 1886) in around 1850 from Mr Scoltock (tutor of his sons) who had bought it abroad whilst travelling with Lord Ashburton, but 'never cared for it at all'; on loan from the Trustees of the Penrhyn Settled Estates
Makers and roles
Dieric Bouts the elder (Haarlem c.1415 – Louvain 1475), artist of original