Madonna and Child with Carnation
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Cincinnati version appears with a red passionflower sprouting from a carnation held by the Madonna. Examination of the history of the New World flower shows that the painter never could have seen such a flower during his lifetime.
A recent examination of the painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum reveals that a 'mystery painter' added the passionflower perhaps a hundred years after van Cleve died. The design of the flowering parts held symbolism of the crucifixion and the discovery of passion flowers was reported as miraculous to the pope in the early 17th Century by clergy returning from the New World. This story of the fabrication of the van Cleve flower remains a mystery. See the article by Michael E. Abrams of Florida A&M University, who uncovered the anomaly.
- With regard to the two versions of a Virgin and Child composition from Joos van Cleve's workshop (Cincinnati Art ... In the strict “original/copy” world of connoisseurship, these paintings are hybrids: Neither is totally unique nor wholly derivative. --Maryan Wynn Ainsworth in Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads