A Female Figure standing in a Niche

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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The Virgin Mary stands in a stone niche, her eyes tear-stained and her brow furrowed. Her hands are folded in prayer. We can't tell if this is meant to be a depiction of a very skilfully polychromed statue or one of Mary herself.

This panel and Saint Luke painting the Virgin and Child are the back and front of a single painting. They were once the right wing of a triptych (a painting made of three parts), although they were painted by different artists. She is similar to various half-length images of the Virgin from the workshop of Quentin Massys, which were often paired with images of her son, Christ.

The missing left wing of the triptych probably showed a full-length figure of Christ after the Resurrection on its exterior, standing in a niche and raising his hand in blessing.

The National Gallery, London



A Female Figure standing in a Niche


about 1530


Oil on oak


H 114.6 x W 34.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

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