On the Side of the Angels, Part 5: ‘Follower of Hugo van der Goes’


Another in a series of observations of early medieval paintings in the National Gallery London, an endless source of inspiration and amusement. Intended to show how I find stories in a painting, not my opinion of the subject matter nor its creator. Nothing replaces seeing the real thing!

Virgin and Child, Follower of Hugo van der Goes circa 1485

Gentle, intimate, devotional: the virgin can’t quite bring herself to look directly at her child, and he doesn’t look at her, staring off into middle distance, his lips open on a sigh, he rolls the beads of a crystal and coral (?) necklace – too many beads for a rosary? – and tangles his fingers in the cord.

She looks a though she will rest her forehead against his in a moment – feel the astonishing heat from his skin, breathe in the scent of him.

It feels as though he will pat her kindly on the cheek and turn away, his mind on things to come.

© Cherry Potts 2013