This painting, which most likely was intended as a single, private devotional panel, combines the depiction of the Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds as described in both biblical and mystical literature. It probably dates from the early 1480s, before David established himself in Bruges. The homely and naive figure types and the geometric simplification of the heads of the Virgin and angels reflect models the artist knew from his early training in the Northern Netherlands. Already present is the characteristic combination of serene landscape, simple architectural setting, and meditative figures that would contribute to the painter’s popularity.
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The Painting: One of the two narrative episodes of Christ’s childhood most often depicted in early Netherlandish painting is the Nativity or, as it sometimes is called, the Adoration of the Christ Child. Equally popular is the Adoration of the Magi. Painters rarely restricted themselves to one version of the story, but often conflated biblical and apocryphal accounts, as is the case here. The architectural setting of this Nativity, with its Romanesque arches, is frequently identified as the dilapidated former palace of the Old Testament King David, an ancestor of Christ. According to Luke 2:7, Mary “laid him [the Christ Child] in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Here, however, instead of the Christ Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger, he lies naked on the ground, on the Virgin Mary's extended deep blue mantle. This rendition more closely matches the chronicled visions of Saint Bridget of Sweden (ca. 1303–1373), which were translated from Swedish into Latin and widely disseminated throughout Europe. Bridget claimed to have seen “the glorious infant, lying on the earth, naked and glowing” (Revelationes Coelestes: Book 7, Chapter 21). She further reported that “the Virgin knelt with great reverence, putting herself at prayer,” and after giving birth “having bowed her head and joined her hands, with great dignity and reverence she adored the boy and said to Him: ‘Welcome, my God, my Lord, and my Son!'" Joseph, as described by Saint Bridget, is “a very dignified old man” who carries a candle in order to be present at the birth. What is not depicted as clearly in the present painting, as it is a full-daylight scene, is Saint Bridget’s additional recollection wherein the ineffable light emanating from the Christ Child outshone the earthly light coming from Joseph’s candle.
Enhancing the narrative presentation are several shepherds, two angels, and the ass and ox advancing from the stable at the right. The shepherds receive extended expository treatment in Luke’s text (2:8–20), both by the Annunciation to the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Shepherds. The Met's painting does show the former, now barely visible, in the background where two shepherds on the hillside fall back in awe at the sight of an angel (above and slightly to the left), who announces Christ’s birth. Three additional shepherds arrive, one entering through the doorway, and two others, peering in at the Christ Child through the double-arched window. The ass and the ox are mentioned in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (14:1), an apocryphal book widely read in the late Middle Ages. Therein we find, “And the ox and the ass worshipped Him. Thus the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled.” These words refer to the Old Testament book of Isaiah 1:3: “The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib.”
The Attribution and Date: From the earliest mention of The Met's painting by Max J. Friedländer (1898), there has been agreement about its attribution to Gerard David (see Refs.). It relates to two others by David, one in the Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest, of around 1485, and the other in the Cleveland Museum of Art of around 1485–90 (see figs. 1 and 2 above). However, it is clear that the latter two versions are more closely related to each other in composition and figure style than either is to The Met's painting, which is a far simpler composition, and thus earlier in date (Ainsworth 1998 and References). Eberhard von Bodenhausen (1905) astutely observed that the type of the Virgin in The Met's painting derives from works by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, and relates to David’s likely early training and origins in the North Netherlands. Typical of the Haarlem painters Geertgen and the Master of the Brunswick Diptych (Jacob Jansz), and likewise found in David’s painting, are the doll-like figure of Christ and a peasant-type Virgin with long, wavy, reddish hair, as in the Night Nativity by Geertgen tot Sint Jans of around 1475 (National Gallery, London; fig. 3). The spatial construction of The Met painting, however, is indebted to works by another Haarlem painter, Dieric Bouts, who moved south, settling in Leuven by 1457. The placement of the figures in the extreme foreground plane, spatial recession developed by a series of overlapping hills populated by prominently silhouetted trees, and a village nestled into the landscape at the upper left—as in Bouts’s Abraham and Melchizedek from the Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament (Sint-Pieterskerk, Leuven, 1468; fig. 4)—provided David with a viable model. In addition, various extant versions of a Nativity composition close to The Met’s painting relate to two fragmentary remains of a Virgin and Joseph by Bouts (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, and Musée du Louvre, Paris, respectively; Ainsworth 1998, p. 105). These connections suggest that, on his way to settle in Bruges in 1484, David spent some time in the Bouts workshop, maintained after Dieric’s death by his sons Aelbert and Dieric the Younger (Ainsworth 1998).
Supporting a date in the early 1480s for The Met’s Nativity is its stylistic connection with David’s Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata (32.100.40bc). Like these two paintings, the Nativity shows very little underdrawing, here mainly serving to place the figures within the composition and provide minimal indications for the modeling of forms (Ainsworth 1998 and forthcoming Technical Notes). However, the two saints panels already reveal the shift of influence from North Netherlandish masters to Bruges’s leading painter when David arrived there, Hans Memling (see the online Catalogue Entry for 32.100.40bc). The Nativity must slightly predate the Saint John and Saint Francis that were painted in about 1485–90. Although they were clearly the wings of a triptych, the two saints panels did not originally flank the Nativity, as Friedländer supposed (1928). In fact, the three panels were not joined together until 1923 when Franz Kleinberger, a New York dealer, acquired all three and offered them as a triptych to Michael Friedsam, who in turn gave the ensemble to The Met in 1931. As Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis both refer to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the two wings more likely flanked a Crucifixion than a Nativity. The Met’s Nativity perhaps served as an independent painting for the private devotional practice of its owner. Quite some years later, in 1496, David again referred to The Met’s Nativity when he painted an almost mirror image of it as an illumination in a precious breviary presented by the Spanish ambassador Francesco de Rojas to Queen Isabella of Castile (fig. 5).
Maryan W. Ainsworth 2020
 For the varied examples of the theme in early Netherlandish paintings in The Met’s collections, see the following: Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (49.109); Gerard David (49.7.20a–c); Master of Frankfurt (1975.1.116); Follower of Jan Joest (1982.60.22); Isenbrant (13.32a–c); Marcellus Coffermans (17.190.3).  For examples in The Met’s early Netherlandish paintings collection, see: Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (49.109); Copy after Hugo van der Goes (71.100); Workshop of Gerard David (1982.60.17); Bosch (13.26); Netherlandish (1975.1.122); Netherlandish (Antwerp) Painter (21.132.2); Quinten Massys (11.143).  This is more convincingly portrayed in the night-time setting for The Met's painting attributed to a follower of Jan Jost of Kalkar, Adoration of the Christ Child (1982.60.22).  Cited in translation from M. J. G de Jong, Vrede en vrolicheyt: kerstfeest in de Middeleeuwen, Baarn, 1985, p. 53; see also B. Knipping, Hoe kerstlegenden kwamen en gingen. Over de ontwikkeling van de kerstvoorstelling, Hilversum, 1942, p. 26 (and p. 22 on the Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew).  Except, that is, for the repainted head of Joseph in the Cleveland Museum of Art example; see Ainsworth 1998, pp. 113, 115.  Most recently on Geertgen tot Sint Jans and the Master of the Brunswick Diptych, see Friso Lammertse and Jeroen Giltaij, eds. Schilderkunst van de late Middeleeuwen, Vroege Hollanders, exh. cat. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008, pp. 76–125, 130–44.  See Ainsworth 1998, pp. 109, 150 n. 31. For further information on Gerard David as a manuscript illuminator, see Maryan W. Ainsworth and Thomas Kren in Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick, eds., Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe, exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 344–65. See also, Gerard David, Holy Face of about 1485–90 (1975.1.2486).
Support: The support was constructed from a single plank of oak, with the grain oriented vertically. Dendrochronological analysis indicated an earliest possible creation date of 1479, with a more plausible date of 1485 onwards. The wood originated in the Baltic/Polish region.
The presence of a barbe and evidence of unpainted wood margins on all sides indicate that the original dimensions are preserved and that an engaged frame was in place when the panel was prepared. At some point before entering The Met’s collection, the panel was thinned to about 6 mm and cradled. The cradle was removed during a 1996 treatment at The Met.
Preparation: The panel was prepared with a white ground. Examination with infrared reflectography revealed some underdrawn lines, executed using what appears to be a liquid medium and a brush (see fig. 6 above). This underdrawing is most easy to discern in the angels; see for example, the cheeks of both and the hairline of the angel on the right. However, in general, it is difficult to perceive the amount of underdrawing in this composition, as it appears quite faint in the reflectogram and the outlines are frequently followed with paint.
Paint Layers: David varied his painting technique for each figure, responding to their different complexions, but also their positions within the scene. He used a good deal of lead white when painting the Christ Child, the Virgin, and angels, mixing the white throughout the fleshtones and relying on only a minimal amount of warm brown paint to create shading and define features. The X-radiograph (fig. 7) reveals a relatively larger concentration of lead white in and around the Child, raising the possibility that David may initially have given him a glowing aspect, as described in the vision of Saint Bridget (see Catalogue Entry). Conversely, David painted the ruddier fleshtones of the shepherds using warm browns and reddish contour lines, with only a very small amount of lead white for the highlights. He even seems to have glazed back any bright spots, underscoring the contrast between the fleshtones of the shepherds and the holy figures. David also used brown glazes to give Joseph a warm tonality similar to the shepherds, but did employ brighter highlights, with the result that he appears brighter, as is appropriate to his position, which is closer to the foreground and the Christ Child.
David made a few adjustments to the architectural setting, as revealed in the infrared reflectogram. Most significantly, he initially included a diagonal beam at the upper right—the mirror image of that on the left—and an additional horizontal beam at the right edge. He also tried out a lower angle for the diagonal beam at upper left. These early ideas were not fully realized at the painting stage.
The painting is in fair condition. There is some overall abrasion, particularly to delicate brown glazes and the uppermost paint layers, most evident in the foreground, where the stones have lost some of their clarity. The figures are generally well preserved; however, there are scattered losses in the Virgin’s head and upper bodice. The tiny depiction of the Annunciation to the Shepherds in the far distance is now difficult to make out due to what appears to be a combination of abrasion and fading; all that remains of the angel is a translucent brown silhouette. The two shepherds on the far mountain are somewhat easier to see but are also abraded; some dark glazes that may have better defined the forms have been lost.
There is no sign of overall blistering on this painting, as seen in the Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis panels (32.100.40bc), which were at one time believed to form a triptych with this Nativity. As further explained in the Catalogue Entry, the standing saints were not originally the wings to the Nativity, and the lack of blistering on the Nativity panel provides further physical evidence that the three panels were not always together.
Sophie Scully 2020
 Wood identification and dendrochronological analysis completed by Dr. Peter Klein, Universität Hamburg, report dated August 21, 1997. The report can be found in the files of the Department of Paintings Conservation. “The youngest heartwood ring was formed out in the year 1468. Regarding the sapwood statistic of Eastern Europe an earliest felling date can be derived for the year 1477, more plausible is a felling date between 1481..1483….1487 + x. With a minimum of 2 years for seasoning an earliest creation of the painting is possible from 1479 upwards. Under the assumption of a median of 15 sapwood rings and 2 years for seasoning, as probably usual in the 14th/15th century, a creation is plausible from 1485 upwards.”  Infrared reflectography was acquired with an OSIRIS InGaAs near-infrared camera fitted with a 6-element, 150 mm focal length f/5.6–f/45 lens; 900-1700 nm spectral response. Captured by Evan Read, September 2020.
duc de Galliera, Paris (in 1874, as by Memling); Mr. Gore, London (?in 1878); [Steinmeyer, Lucerne, until 1923; sold to Kleinberger]; [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1923; sold to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1923–d. 1931)
Paris. Palais de la Présidence du Corps Législatif. "Ouvrages de peinture exposés au profit de la colonisation de l'Algérie par les Alsaciens-Lorrains," April 23–?, 1874, no. 340 (as by Memling, lent by M. le duc de Galliera).
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Flemish Primitives," 1929, no. 28 (as a triptych, lent by Col. Michael Friedsam).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 2.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gerard David: Flanders's Last Medieval Master," April 1–May 9, 1972, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 72.
Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Gerard David y el paisaje flamenco," June 10–August 22, 2004, no. 2.
Max J. Friedländer inAusstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz Veranstaltet von der Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft . . . 1898. Berlin, 1899, p. 14, relates this painting, then in a private collection in Paris, to a Nativity by David in the von Kaufmann collection (now Cleveland Museum of Art), and to one in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts; observes that our picture is in poor condition.
Eberhard von Bodenhausen. Gerard David und seine Schule. Munich, 1905, p. 89 n. 1, mentions it as related to the Budapest Nativity and observes that on a photograph of this work in the Saint John's Hospital in Bruges it is incorrectly ascribed to Memling; notes that the type of the Madonna derives from Geertgen tot Sint Jans.
Eberhard von Bodenhausen and Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Zum Werk Gerard Davids." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 22 (1911), p. 183, ill., observe that it is known to them only through a photograph, ascribe it to David and consider it contemporary with the Kaufmann and Budapest pictures or perhaps even earlier; comment that it was apparently made in Haarlem under the influence of Geertgen and that the composition derives from a painting by Dirk Bouts in the Johnson collection in Philadelphia; state that it was exhibited in Paris in 1878.
Friedr. Winkler. "Gerard David und die Brügger Minaturmalerei seiner Zeit." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 6 (1913), p. 278, calls it a lost early work and notes that it and the Budapest and Kaufmann Nativities are related to a Nativity in the Breviary of Isabella of Spain (British Library), presented to Isabella in 1497; believes the illumination is by David.
Friedrich Winkler inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, pp. 452, 454–55, refers to it as an early work of David's, lost since 1878.
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, pp. 278–79, lists it, along with the Kaufmann and Budapest Nativities, as an early work; considers our picture the earliest of the three, calling it a "pure Haarlem work," close to Geertgen.
Max J. Friedländer. Letter. March 3, 1923, calls it a characteristic early work of Gerard David.
Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 6, Memling und Gerard David. Berlin, 1928, pp. 84, 88–89, 91, 100, 143, no. 159, pl. 67, publishes the Nativity with the wing panels of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis [32.100.40bc] as a triptych and places it later in David's oeuvre than the Budapest and von Pannwitz [Kaufmann] Nativities; ascribes to David the Nativity in the Breviary of Isabella of Spain, which must date "shortly before 1497," and sees this illumination as a repetition of our Nativity, which he therefore dates before 1497.
Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 138.
Sidney P. Noe. "Flemish Primitives in New York." American Magazine of Art 21 (January 1930), pp. 32, 37, ill. p. 30.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 22–24, no. 31, observe that it is not definitely known that the three panels belonged together, but that they seem to "constitute a unified triptych"; add that the relative dimensions of the panels would tend to support Friedländer's reconstruction, noting that although the wings are 3/4 inch shorter than the central panel, they appear to have been cut down; date them not long after 1483 and state that the Nativity was in the Paris Exposition of 1878.
Ludwig Baldass. "Gerard David als Landschaftsmaler." Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, n.s., 10 (1936), pp. 91–93, notes the influence of Geertgen, adding that one does not yet see signs of the influence of the great Flemish painters, and concludes that the triptych must be an early work painted under a hypothetical apprenticeship with Geertgen in Haarlem; considers the Budapest and von Pannwitz Nativities later.
Wolfgang Schöne. "Über einige altniederländische Bilder, vor allem in Spanien." Jahrbuch der königlich preuszischen Kunstsammlungen 58 (1937), p. 173, publishes miniatures from a book of hours from 1486 in the Escorial, the larger part of which he ascribes to David; on the basis of style, places our three panels in the same period.
K. G. Boon. Gerard David. Amsterdam, , pp. 20–22, ill. p. 17, believes the altarpiece was painted during a "transitional period" in Bruges and considers it later than the von Pannwitz and Budapest Nativities which he places among David's earliest works; sees the discrepancies between the wings and central panel as characteristic of his work at this time.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 89–92, ill., observe that although the panels are now framed as a triptych, they evidently did not belong together originally; note that the landscape is discontinuous and that the sizes of the three panels are different, the wings being shorter than the central panel and too wide to close when framed and hinged; see the Nativity as characteristic of David's Haarlem style and the wings as being in the style he developed after he came to Bruges.
Ernest Lotthé. La pensée chrétienne dans la peinture flamande et hollandaise. Lille, 1947, vol. 1, p. 59; vol. 2, p. 323 n. 77.
M. L. D'Otrange. "Gerard David at the Metropolitan, New York." Connoisseur 128 (January 1952), pp. 206–7, ill.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 27.
Georges Marlier. Ambrosius Benson et la peinture à Bruges au temps de Charles-Quint. Damme, Belgium, 1957, p. 142.
Henry S. Francis. "'The Nativity' by Gerard David." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 45 (December 1958), pp. 230–33, ill., dates our Nativity before the von Pannwitz Nativity, recently acquired by the Cleveland Museum, and the one in Budapest.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 79, 123, fig. 23, notes that the panels were not conceived as a triptych, but believes they were produced during the same period of the artist's career, about 1475.
Jacqueline Folie inFlanders in the Fifteenth Century: Art and Civilization. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts Groeninge Museum. Detroit, 1960, pp. 186, 188, observes that David's Nativities in Cleveland and Budapest are derived from this one.
Charles D. Cuttler. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel. New York, 1968, pp. 191–92, lists David's three Nativities chronologically with the Budapest version first, ours second, and the Cleveland version last, all apparently painted "over a ten-year period that extended into the 1490s".
Susan Urbach. Early Netherlandish Painting. New York, 1971, pp. 10, 28, calls our Nativity David's earliest version "which seems to date from before 1484" and publishes a related Nativity (Christian Museum, Esztergom) by a Northern Netherlandish painter working around 1500.
Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 6, Hans Memlinc and Gerard David. New York, 1971, part 2, pp. 83, 85–87, 100, 127, no. 159, pls. 161–62.
Elizabeth Ourusoff De Fernandez-Gimenez in "European Paintings Before 1500." The Cleveland Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. Part 1, Cleveland, 1974, p. 151.
Diane Graybowski Scillia. "Gerard David and Manuscript Illumination in the Low Countries, 1480–1509." PhD diss., Case Western Reserve University, 1975, pp. 80–81, 100 nn. 8 and 12, pp. 113, 127, 129–33, 144 n. 13, pp. 152–53 nn. 73–74, 78, pp. 161–62, 164–65, 174, 191–93, 200 n. 14, p. 201 n. 16, p. 205 n. 53, p. 242 n. 9, p. 243 n. 14, fig. 24, dates the central panel in David's Haarlem period and the wings after 1484, observing that they were not originally designed to adjoin this Nativity; suggests that our Nativity and two fragments of a Nativity in the Louvre, Paris, usually ascribed to Dieric Bouts, may reflect a lost Haarlem school composition, perhaps a lost painting by Ouwater; compares the figure of the Virgin to that of Lazarus's sister in Ouwater's "Raising of Lazarus" in the Berlin-Dahlem Museum.
John D. Morse. Old Master Paintings in North America: Over 3000 Masterpieces by 50 Great Artists. New York, 1979, p. 92.
Edwin James Mundy III. "Gerard David Studies." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1980, pp. 24–25, 51 nn. 38–39, apparently views the three panels as conceived as a whole; dates the triptych well into the 1490s, but before 1497, the approximate date of the similar Nativity in the Breviary of Isabella of Spain.
James Snyder. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. New York, 1985, pp. 188, 191, fig. 182, observes that there is some question as to whether or not the three panels originally belonged together; dates them about 1480–85.
Hans Vlieghe inThe Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis. Ed. H. R. Hoetink. Amsterdam, 1985, pp. 103–4, ill., erroneously illustrates this nativity scene as the center for David's reverse wings in the Mauritshuis [these actually belong with 49.7.20a–c].
Dirk De Vos inNationaal Biografisch Woordenboek. Vol. 12, Brussels, 1987, col. 215.
Catheline Périer-d'Ieteren. "Précisions sur le dessin sous-jacent et la technique d'exécution de la Nativité de Gérard David du musée de Budapest." Annales d'histoire d'art et d'archéologie 60 (1987), pp. 95–106.
Hans J. van Miegroet. Gerard David. Antwerp, 1989, pp. 36, 38, 48, 80, 273, 276, 278, 280, 320, 328, no. 1, colorpls. 11 (triptych) and 12 (detail of center panel), ill. p. 273, considers the wings later than the central panel, and not from the same ensemble; observes that the three panels probably belong to David's earliest production, possibly between 1480 and 1485.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Gerard David, Hans J. van Miegroet." Art Bulletin 72 (December 1990), p. 649, notes that Van Miegroet discusses the panels together although he concedes that they were not originally conceived as a unit; states that the physical and stylistic evidence that the Nativity is earlier than the wings is "readily apparent," observing that the central panel depends on North Netherlandish prototypes and the wings on later influence from Bruges and Ghent.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, pp. 258–59, ill.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "A Meeting of Sacred and Secular Worlds." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 32, 69, 83, 143, 276–77, 282–84, 302, no. 72, ill. (color), places it in the early 1480s and the wings with Saints John the Baptist and Francis (MMA 32.100.40bc) about 1485–90, asserting that The Nativity was probably intended as a single, private devotional panel.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition. New York, 1998, pp. 92, 102–9, 150 nn. 20, 21, 30, pp. 212, 319, 324, ill. (color, overall and detail, and x-radiograph), notes that the earliest felling date for the panel's source tree is 1477.
Michael Rohlmann. "Flanders and Italy, Flanders and Florence. Early Netherlandish Painting in Italy and its Particular Influence on Florentine Art: An Overview." Italy and the Low Countries—Artistic Relations: The Fifteenth Century. Florence, 1999, p. 57 n. 2, refers to the three Friedsam panels as a Nativity triptych and includes them in a list of Flemish works that came from Italy, "of which the precise origins are unknown".
Michaela Krieger. "Gerard David als Illuminator." Festschrift für Konrad Oberhuber. Ed. Achim Gnann and Heinz Widauer. Milan, 2000, pp. 227, 233 n. 52, fig. 8.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "'Diverse patterns pertaining to the crafts of painters or illuminators': Gerard David and the Bening Workshop." Master Drawings 41, no. 3 (2003), pp. 242–44, ill.
Joaquín Yarza Luaces inGerard David y el paisaje flamenco. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2003, pp. 40, 42, 44, 125, no. 2, fig. 15 (color).
Everett Fahy inThe Wrightsman Pictures. Ed. Everett Fahy. New York, 2005, p. 2.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Gerard David. Vita e opere." Il Polittico della Cervara di Gerard David. Ed. Clario Di Fabio. Exh. cat., Musei di Strada Nuova — Palazzo Bianco, Genoa. Milan, 2005, p. 14, fig. 2.
Diane Wolfthal. "Florentine Bankers, Flemish Friars, and the Patronage of the Portinari Altarpiece." Cultural Exchange Between the Low Countries and Italy (1400–1600). Ed. Ingrid Alexander-Skipnes. Turnhout, Belgium, 2007, p. 9, fig. 7.
Susan Urbach. Early Netherlandish Paintings. London, 2015, vol. 1, pp. 115, 117, 126–27 nn. 13, 15, under no. 9.
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