About this artwork

In this painting the Virgin and her mother, St. Anne, sit side by side. They offer the Christ Child an apple, a reference to the forbidden fruit Eve offered Adam in the Garden of Eden. It is also a symbol of the burden of the sins of mankind that Christ will bear. Benson’s elegant figures are painted with rich colours using his typically delicate touch, and both the Virgin and her mother are given equal compositional importance. This results in a superbly balanced image. In the left background, an angel draws water from the Fountain of Life. Benson was renowned for such small scale devotional pieces, teeming with incident and detail.

Ambrosius Benson

Ambrosius Benson