HUGO VAN DER GOES
Triptych with Madonna and Child and the Donors with Saints Recommending Them
Mixed technique on oakwood
Inv. No. 802
30.1 × 23.4 cm
Toward the end of the 1480s, Willem van Overbeke and his wife, Johanna de Keysere, commissioned an unknown artist to expand their painting of the Madonna by Hugo van der Goes, executed about a decade earlier, into a small folding altarpiece. This explains the double frame construction of the central panel, which is otherwise quite unusual. The multiple repetition of the words “En esperance” (“In hope”) on the frame may refer to a vow made by the clients. The painting’s refined execution and its subtle characterization of the Madonna and Child show Hugo van der Goes’s superiority over his successor.