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

Two Movable Wings of An Altarpiece

c. 1510
Oil on oak panel, 86 x 28 cm (each wing)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The two panels representing Christ Carrying the Cross, with the Crucifixion (left) and The Resurrection, with the Pilgrims of Emmaus (right) formed the movable wings of an altarpiece. When opened, on certain feast days, the panels would have been displayed, flanking a central image, perhaps the Lamentation. The reverses of the two Passion scenes, displayed when the wings were closed, show the Virgin Annunciate and the Archangel Gabriel, painted in grisaille to emulate sculpture.

The Annunciation is executed in grisaille to emulate sculpture, yet the flesh tones and hair of the figures depart from the monochromatic gray, in keeping with the softer, naturalistic vein prevalent in Bruges painting at the turn of the century.