Lucca Madonna (van Eyck)

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Lucca Madonna
Jan van Eyck - Lucca Madonna - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist Jan van Eyck
Year 1436
Type Oil on panel
Dimensions 65.5 cm × 149.5 cm (25.8 in × 58.9 in)
Location Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

The Lucca Madonna is an 1436 oil painting of the Madonna and Child by the Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck. It is on display in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

It is known as Lucca Madonna as it belonged to the collection of Charles II, Duke of Parma and Lucca, in the early 19th century. It is one of the latest works by Jan van Eyck. The Virgin has been identified as a portrait of the painters's wife, Margaretha, of whom van Eyck also made a secular portrait.[1]

It portrays the Virgin sitting on a throne with four small lion statues, a reference to the throne of Solomon, which had twelve lions on the sides and steps.[2] In Iconography this depiction of Madonna and Child, with Jesus sitting on Mary's knee, is called the Throne of Wisdom, and is a common iconological type. As the Speculum Humanae Salvationis put it:

"the throne of the true Solomon is the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
In which sat Jesus Christ, the true wisdom."[3]

As in many paintings by van Eyck and his contemporaries, this comparison is further elaborated by specifically depicting Mary similar to an altar, in that she supports the infant Christ on her lap, shown oversized and flattened, just as the altar supports the presence of Christ in the host at Mass. The white cloth beneath him, over the richer coloured cloth of Mary's dress, and the niche to the right which resembles a piscina where water for the priest to wash his hands was kept, all contribute to the comparison.[4] The unusual shape of the room, very narrow for such a large chair, suggests a small chapel.


  1. ^ Harbison, Craig. "Jan van Eyck: The Play of Realism". Reaktion Books, 1997. 97. ISBN 0-948462-79-5
  2. ^ 1 Kings 10:18-20 and Chronicles 9:17-19
  3. ^ Lane, Barbara G,The Altar and the Altarpiece, Sacramental Themes in Early Netherlandish Painting, p.15, Harper & Row, 1984, ISBN 0-06-430133-8
  4. ^ Lane, op cit,p.16


  • Klaus Gallwitz (ed.): Besuch im Städel – Betrachtungen zu Bildern. Insel Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt 1986, ISBN 3-458-32639-1
  • Otto Pächt: Van Eyck – die Begründer der altniederländischen Malerei. Prestel Verlag, München 1989, ISBN 3-7913-1033-X
  • Carol J. Purtle: The Marian Paintings of Jan van Eyck. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 1982
  • Jochen Sander (ed.): Fokus auf Jan van Eyck: Lukas Madonna, um 1437/1438 (Inv. Nr. 944). Publication of the Städel Museum, 2006
  • János Végh: Jan van Eyck. Henschelverlag Kunst und Gesellschaft, Berlin 1984

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