Despite all that is now known about the artist and the social circles in which he was involved, with he two donors pictured here on the right hand side of the scene have never been identified.
The most likely explanation is that the two figures beside Madonna and child are a rich couple from Antwerp. This would match up with artist’s location during that time. It was rare for him to include two donors together in the same painting, suggesting that one was a major donor who invited their partner to join the composition.
The artist has added two angels flying in the background to add some interest to an otherwise simple scene. The rockery is deliberately supportive and plain rather than dominate in order to allow the main figures to draw one’s focus.
This painting is now part of the extensive collection at The Louvre in Paris, France. Their broad array of art has been built up over many centuries from a combination of expensive acquisitions and generous donations. This work is known to have been part of the collection of Louis XIV of France in the late 17th century, which explains how it ends up now in The Louvre.
It is a tough task to summarise such an extraordinary collection as that of The Louvre's but two of the most significant highlights would have to be Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.