DAVID, Gerard
(b. ca. 1460, Oudewater, d. 1523, Bruges)

The Nativity

c. 1490
Panel, 76,5 x 56 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Gerard David provided a link between the late Gothic art of the earlier Netherlandish masters and the new Renaissance style; in his works we see a felicitous combination of the vigour characteristic of the northern masters and the brilliant technique and feeling for form seen in the work of those of the southern provinces. He painted mostly altarpieces, Madonnas and saints, striving to make the figures lifelike and including many natural, intimate details. In the Nativity the shepherds, ungainly in their clumsy boots, look as if they scarcely dare to approach the Infant (the figure in the background opening is usually believed to be a self-portrait) and the streets and houses of the town in the background are depicted with the detailed clarity of a topographer.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 9 minutes):
Josquin Desprez: In principio erat verbum, motet