(b. 1410/20, Baarle, d. 1475/76, Brugge)


Wood, 86 x 55 cm
Groeninge Museum, Bruges

Petrus Christus belonged to the same generation as Van der Weyden, but was perhaps a little younger. He came to Bruges from North Brabant, possibly after completing his initial training in Haarlem. His style is strongly modelled on that of Van Eyck and so there is good reason for suspecting he was Jan's apprentice, even though he did not purchase free citizenship of Bruges until three years after his putative master's death.

The two panels by Christus, the Annunciation and the Nativity were quite badly worn, but painstakingly restored. Both of them are signed and dated (1452) and were probably painted as part of a triptych or polyptych. They reveal Christus as a precise designer of space and moulder of volumes. The figures in the Annunciation resemble statues arranged in a geometrically constructed show-case. It is the first painting in the Netherlands with a correct central perspective.