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January 25: framed

Picture frames are often  merely pompous and distracting, but sometimes, as here, they expand and complete the work. This tiny piece by Geertgen tot Sint Jans (c.1465 – c.1495) sits in its frame as in a window, the repeated gold rectangles almost describing a house with its protective shutters mostly but not entirely open. Gentle, simple, sheltering, like its subject, and forming together a perfect ensemble.

c. 1490
Madonna and Child     4.7 x 3.5″       c. 1490