Master of the Saint Lucy Legend
Mary, Queen of Heaven
oil on panel
painted surface: 199.2 x 161.8 cm (78 7/16 x 63 11/16 in)
Probably Don Pedro Fernández de Velasco, Count of Haro and Constable of Castile [d. 1492], for the convent of Santa Clara, Medina de Pomar, near Burgos, until at least 1934.  Raimundo Ruiz y Ruiz, Madrid.  (French & Company, New York, by c. 1947); purchased 1949 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 by exchange to NGA.  According to notes from the Kress Foundation records, now in the NGA curatorial files, an escutcheon at the top of the purportedly original frame once bore the arms of Don Pedro Fernández de Velasco, Count of Haro and Constable of Castile (c. 1425-1492). An old photograph in the curatorial files shows a space at the top of the frame where the arms may have been. Colin Eisler, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian, (Oxford, 1977), 61, thinks the frame is original and made in Spain; the Gallery's frame and painting conservators suggest that the frame is not original, but includes portions of an old frame. The records of French & Company indicate only that the painting was "said to have been the gift of a Constable of Castile to a convent near Burgos founded by his daughter and suppressed in the nineteenth century," correspondence of 19 July 1967 to Eisler and Eisler (as above), 63. The most convincing suggestion for the painting's original location is made by Ann Roberts, "The Master of the Legend of Saint Lucy: A Catalogue and Critical Essay," Ph.D. diss. (University of Pennsylvania, 1982), 92-95, who places it in the chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the convent of Santa Clara in Medina de Pomar, near Burgos. Don Pedro's daughter, Doña Leonor, was abbess of the convent. Don Pedro had begun construction of the chapel in 1460 and his son finished paying for it. Roberts cites a description of a painting in the convent in 1934 that accords in terms of dimensions, style, and subject matter with Mary, Queen of Heaven; this is contained in Julián Garcia Sáinz de Baranda, Medina de Pomar. Como Lugar Arqueológico y Centro de Turismo de las Merindades de Castilla-Vieja, (Alcala de Henares, 1934), 88: "Otra table flamenca atribuida a Van der Weiden, de unos dos metros de alta, por 1,50 de ancha que tiene por asunto la Asuncion de la Virgen obra maestra llena de colorido y expresion." The identification would seem to be strengthened by the fact that the painting is not mentioned in Jacques Lavalleye, Primitifs flamands. Corpus. Collections d'Espagne, 2 vols. (Antwerp, 1953-1958), although another painting from the same convent is catalogued, 2: 17. Lavalleye states, 2: 7, that he visited the province of Burgos in 1954.  Letter of 19 July 1967 from Robert Davis, French & Company, to Dale Kinney, assistant to Colin Eisler, in the NGA curatorial files. This letter was made available by Dr. Eisler.