The Virgin and Child with St. Elizabeth and the Child Baptist

Peter Paul Rubens, 1630 - 1635 about possibly

WAG 4097

About this object

Mary nurses the infant Christ, and is accompanied by her relative Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist. The figure of Joseph was originally included but painted over. The human side of these religious figures has been emphasised. There is a sense of motherly love in the glances and gestures of the women, while John the Baptist plays with Christ’s foot. The lamb may represent Christ’s future sacrifice.

The two children may have been modelled on Rubens’s own sons by his second wife, Helena Fourment, whom he married in 1630. This work was enormously popular. Many copies and engravings were made, bringing it to a wide audience. Rubens was a leading painter in 17th-century Europe, working for both Charles I of England and Philip IV of Spain.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, born:1577-06-28, died:1640-05-30)
  • Date
    1630 - 1635 about possibly
  • Materials
    Canvas; Oil paint
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 180 x 139.5cm
  • Physical description
    A female figure (the Virgin) wearing a red dress is seated in the centre with a naked child on her knee (Jesus). The Virgin is looking at another female (St. Elizabeth), who is beside her on the left, looking at Jesus. She is accompanied by a child stroking a goat. There is a pillar on the right and a tree can be seen in the distance through an arch on the left.
  • Related people
    Agnew's Gallery (Previous owner) ; Art Fund (Associated Person) ; Peter Paul Rubens (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 4097
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery with the assistance of a Treasury Grant, Art Fund and other benefactors in 1960
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 03
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Previous owners

  • Agnew's Gallery

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1960
    Disposal method: Sold to the Walker Art Gallery
Object view = Fine Art
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