While John the Baptist was frequently represented in Netherlandish art, his pairing with Saint Francis is rare in the North. The latter was venerated especially in Southern Europe, suggesting that these paintings could have been commissioned by an Italian merchant working in Bruges. Originally the wings of a triptych, they might have flanked a Crucifixion or a Lamentation, for they both share the theme of Christ’s sacrifice: Saint John points to the Lamb of God, a familiar metaphor for Christ as the redeemer of mankind, and Saint Francis miraculously receives the stigmata at a distance from his monastery on Mount Alverna.
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Fig. 1. Exterior of the Ghent Altarpiece (Saint Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent)
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Fig. 2. Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Interior of the Ghent Altarpiece (Saint Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent)
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Fig. 3. Jan van Eyck and/or workshop, "Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata" (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
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Fig. 4. Master W with the Key, "Stigmatization of Saint Francis" (Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin)
Fig. 5. Infrared reflectogram of "Saint John the Baptist"
Fig. 6. Infrared reflectogram of "Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata"
Fig. 7. X-radiograph of 32.100.40bc, taken before removal of cradle
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Title:Saint John the Baptist; Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata
Artist:Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:Left wing, overall 18 x 6 5/8 in. (45.7 x 16.8 cm), original painted surface 17 5/8 x 5 7/8 in. (44.8 x 14.9 cm); right wing, overall 17 7/8 x 6 1/2 in. (45.4 x 16.5 cm), original painted surface 17 5/8 x 5 3/4 in. (44.8 x 14.6 cm)
Credit Line:The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
The Paintings: Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis are known as hermit saints, because of the long periods of time that they both spent in the wilderness. John points to the lamb, his attribute, in reference to the biblical passage of John 1:29: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” Thereafter, John baptized Christ. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order, is shown at the edge of the wild forest of Mount Alverna, where on one night in 1224, he was praying on the feast of the Exultation of the Cross. There, according to the account of Thomas of Celano, Francis saw a vision of a six-winged seraph on a cross, whereupon Christ’s Crucifixion wounds were transferred to Francis’s hands and feet. These wounds remained until the saint died a few years later. Resting nearby, and oblivious of this event, is Francis’s companion, Brother Leo. Saint Francis wears not the traditional grey habit, but the brown one of the reformed branch of the Franciscan Order, called the Recolleten or Observant Friars. The rope belt around his habit shows three knots that stand for the saint’s vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
The Attribution and Date: Since Max J. Friedländer first assigned these two panels to the early works of Gerard David, there has been no challenge to this assertion (see Refs., especially Friedländer 1899; Miegroet 1989, pp. 273–74; and Ainsworth 1998, pp. 117–21). Both paintings show the distinct influence of Jan van Eyck, whose legacy in Bruges must still have been influential when David first settled there and joined the painters’ guild in 1484. Jan van Eyck’s grisaille trompe-l’oeil sculpture of Saint John the Baptist on the left exterior wing of the Ghent Altarpiece (1432; Saint Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent; see fig. 1 above) offered a ready model, as did perhaps a number of circulating workshop drawings that present the saint en face, with massive rhythmic draperies, and pointing with his right hand to the “lamb of God” (Ainsworth 1998, pp. 117–21, fig. 120). The sketchy underdrawing for this figure shows the extension of John’s draperies down below his right knee, just as in the models mentioned here (see Ainsworth 1998, p. 120, fig. 121). The background border of cypress and magnolia trees probably also came from the Ghent Altarpiece, specifically the panel of the Hermit Saints (fig. 2, lower right panel).
David also may have depended on the Ghent Altarpiece for the setting of his Saint Francis, where the panel of Saint Christopher and the Pilgrim Saints shows a similar placement of the foreground figures and the border of trees and cityscape in the background (fig. 2, second panel from lower right). David could well have known the Van Eyck and workshop paintings of Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata made for the Adornes family (fig. 3), although the differences between the two far outweigh any similarities. Rather, he perhaps referenced the engraving by the Master W with the Key (active 1465–90), a contemporary Bruges printmaker and probably goldsmith, for the pose of the saint and the appearance of the seraph to his upper left (see Bodenhausen 1905, p. 97, fig. 5).
The Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis represent the evolution of David’s style taking place as he shed his North Netherlandish origins for the more graceful poses and subtle modeling influenced by the work of Bruges’s leading painter at the time, Hans Memling. Saint John is characteristic of the rather short and stocky figures, with ample use of brown modeling of the flesh tones, in the figures of David’s earliest works, namely, The Met’s Nativity (early 1480s; 32.100.40a) or the figures in the wings to the triptych of Christ Nailed to the Cross (National Gallery, London, and Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp). The figure of Saint Francis, however, is less rigid and boldly sculptural than his counterpart. Francis’s draperies fall more naturalistically, as designed in the minimal underdrawing with slight changes in the paint layers; a pentiment is evident at the lower left of Francis’s robe (Ainsworth 1998, p. 122, fig. 124). Francis’s soft, sympathetic facial type anticipates, for example, the figure of Mary Magdalen, encountered in The Met’s Crucifixion by David (09.157). As such, a date for these two panels would likely be around 1485–90, during David’s earliest years in Bruges.
The Commission and Function of the Work: Despite the fact that Max J. Friedländer (1928) linked these two wings with the Met’s Nativity, the paintings were not together until 1923 when the New York dealer Kleinberger obtained all three and sold them as a triptych to Michael Friedsam (see Provenance). Rather than a Nativity, it is far more likely that the panel between these two saints represented a now-lost Crucifixion. This is a theme shared by both saints: Saint John points to the lamb, referring to Christ’s sacrifice for humankind on the cross, and Saint Francis miraculously receives the stigmata of Christ’s hands and feet as he was crucified. A painting by a follower of Gerard David shows a Crucifixion with Saints John the Baptist and Francis (Chrysler Museum, Norfolk), and a triptych attributed to David in the Escorial, outside Madrid, represents a related Passion scene, a Lamentation, with these same two saints on the wings, forming a triptych.
It is worth noting that Genadedal, the Charterhouse of Bruges, a Carthusian monastery founded in 1318, was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, who was highly esteemed by the order. As for Saint Francis, the Franciscans had a cloister near the Ezelsport in Bruges. This saint also had special connections with the wealthy Bruges Adornes family, which commissioned two paintings from Jan van Eyck and his workshop of the saint receiving the stigmata. Four generations of the Adornes family had strong ties with Genadedal, some of whom joined the Bruges Carthusians. Genadedal, in fact, was given administrative control over the Adornes family foundation, the Jerusalem Chapel. in 1454. Could it be that these two paintings of Saints John the Baptist and Francis are somehow connected to a commission related to the Carthusian monastery in Bruges, and to the Adornes family? At the very least, these two saints were locally important to the devotional practices of Bruges citizens.
Maryan W. Ainsworth 2019
 James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, New York, 1979, pp. 131–33.  Hall 1979, p. 131.  See Miegroet 1989, p. 319, no. 66; J. C. Harrison, The Chrysler Museum, Handbook of the European and American Collections, Selected Paintings, Sculpture, and Drawings, Norfolk, 1991, p. 7.  See Miegroet 1989, p. 320, no. 70.  For a discussion of this matter, see Emma Capron in Emma Capron, with Maryan Ainsworth and Till-Holger Borchert, The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos, New York, 2018, p. 27, 65 nn. 75–76.  Capron 2018, pp. 28–29.
Support: The support for each painting 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. Dendrochronological analysis also indicated that the two planks came from the same tree.
The presence of a barbe and unpainted wood margins at left, top and right on each panel indicate that the original dimensions are preserved at those edges and that an engaged frame was in place when the panels were prepared. However, both panels were trimmed at the bottom edge prior to entering The Met’s collection. The panels were also thinned to about 6mm and cradled. The cradles were removed during a 1996 treatment at The Met.
Preparation: Both panels were prepared with a white ground. Examination with infrared reflectography (see figs. 5, 6 above) revealed only minimal underdrawn lines, executed using what appears to be a dry medium. These lines, most readily observed in the Baptist’s legs and in the drapery of both saints, appear to mark out the most important contours of each figure, albeit in a very sketchy fashion. The underdrawing for the lower folds of Francis’s robe were particularly cursory and crude, and were altered and clarified in the painting. The infrared revealed that David initially planned a longer robe for the Baptist and a slightly lower position of his proper left foot. No underdrawing was detected in the background.
Paint Layers: It appears that both panels were executed using oil paint, although the painting medium was not analyzed. Close examination reveals that David painted the fleshtones of the two saints using slightly different palettes, but a similar technique. John the Baptist has a generally warmer tonality, achieved by much use of brown glazes to model the fleshtones as well as a pronounced use of red, both for shading, as in the face, and to define the contours, as in the eyes and the feet. Saint Francis has relatively cooler fleshtones, with mixtures of blue and greys used for the shading. However, the artist did use a warm brown to define contours and added a small amount of red paint to Saint Francis’s hands. The artist used little lead white in the fleshtones for both figures. It is mainly restricted to areas of highlights, around the saints’ eyes and noses. This minimal use of lead white is particularly clear when the x-radiographs (fig. 7) are compared to the x-radiographs of later paintings, such as The Virgin and Child with Four Angels (1977.1.1) and The Rest on the Flight into Egypt (49.7.21).
David made minor alterations to both compositions during the course of painting. He initially followed the underdrawn contours of the Baptist’s full-length robe with red paint, but does not appear to have fully painted it when he made the decision to shorten the robe. He also made minor alterations to Francis’s robe during the course of painting, changing his proper right sleeve and extending the bottom of his robe over the grass.
There is evidence of past widespread blistering of the paint on both panels, consistent with the damage imparted by high heat; the painting may have been in the environs of a fire. The blisters are stable but are now a permanent feature of the paintings. There is also some minor, overall abrasion. The difference in tone in the two landscapes is also due to condition. In the Francis panel, many of the uppermost green glazes in the landscape have discolored to brown, as is characteristic of copper-containing green paint. However, only residues of similar discolored upper glazes remain in the Baptist panel; the glazes were damaged during a past treatment, revealing the cooler green underlayer.
Sophie Scully 2020
 Wood identification and dendrochronological analysis completed by Dr. Peter Klein, Universität Hamburg, report dated 21 August 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, 150mm focal length f/5.6–f/45 lens; 900-1700nm spectral response. Captured by Evan Read, September 2020.
private collection, Genoa; Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin (1898–d. 1908; his estate, 1908–17; his estate sale, Cassirer & Helbing, Berlin, December 4, 1917, nos. 76 and 77, for Mk. 105,000); Omnes van Nijenrode, Breukelen (1917–23; sale, Muller, Amsterdam, July 10, 1923, no. 7, for fl. 29,000); [Paul Bottenwieser, Berlin, 1923; sold to Kleinberger]; [Kleinberger, New York, 1923; sold to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1923–d. 1931)
Berlin. Kunstgeschichtliche Gesellschaft. "Ausstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz," May 20–June 25, 1898, no. 55 (lent by R. v. Kaufmann).
Bruges. Palais du Gouvernement. "Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien," June 15–September 15, 1902, no. 134 (lent by M. von Kaufmann, Berlin).
Berlin. Akademie der Künste. "Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst," 1914, nos. 34 and 35 (lent by Frau von Kaufmann).
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. 73.
Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Gerard David y el paisaje flamenco," June 10–August 22, 2004, nos. 4 and 5.
Max J. Friedländer inAusstellung von Kunstwerken des Mittelalters und der Renaissance aus Berliner Privatbesitz Veranstaltet von der Kunstgeschichtlichen Gesellschaft . . . 1898. Berlin, 1899, pp. 12–13, ill. (Saint Francis), describes the two altarwings as early works of Gerard David, comparing them with the triptych in the Louvre [Altarpiece of the Virgin Enthroned] and the Nativity in the Kaufmann collection.
Henri Hymans. "L'exposition des primitifs flamands à Bruges (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 28 (August 1902), p. 66, ill. p. 64 (Saint Francis), as works of David's youth.
Georges H. de Loo Palais du Gouvernement, Bruges. Exposition de tableaux flamands des XIVe, XVe et XVIe siècles: catalogue critique précédé d'une introduction sur l'identité de certains maîtres anonymes. Ghent, 1902, p. 35, nos. 134 and 134 bis, considers them works of David's youth.
Max J. Friedländer. "Die Brügger Leihausstellung von 1902." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 26 (1903), p. 87, dates them in the 1590s.
Eberhard von Bodenhausen. Gerard David und seine Schule. Munich, 1905, pp. 13, 27, 29–30, 46, 96–98, no. 5, ill. opp. p. 96, implies that these panels were painted before David's arrival in Bruges in 1483, and notes that Master W with the Key uses a type very similar to our Saint Francis in his engraving of the Saint [see Notes].
Max J. Friedländer. "De Verzameling von Kaufmann te Berlijn." Onze Kunst 10 (July–December 1906), p. 33.
Salomon Reinach. Répertoire de peintures du moyen age et de la renaissance (1280–1580). Vol. 3, Paris, 1910, ill. p. 597 (engraving).
L. de Fourcaud. "La fin de l'art primitif à Bruges: Gérard David." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 30 (July–December 1911), p. 348.
Friedrich Winkler inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, p. 452, mentions the wing panels as early works.
Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, p. 180.
Max J. Friedländer. Die Sammlung Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin. Cassirer and Helbing, Berlin. December 4ff., 1917, vol. 2, p. 152, nos. 76, 77, ill., calls them early works by David, noting their stylistic closeness to Jan van Eyck and Geertgen tot Sint Jans.
H. Friedeberger. "Die Sammlung Richard von Kaufmann." Der Cicerone 9 (1917), p. 375, pl. 1, as early works by David.
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, p. 279, considers them early works and, as evidence that David was beginning to study the van Eycks, observes that "the wooded background behind John the Baptist is imitated from a wing of the Adoration of the Lamb".
M. D. Henkel. "Versteigerung der Sammlung Schloß Nyenrode." Kunstchronik und Kunstmarkt no. 37/38 (June 15–22, 1923), p. 687.
Paul Bottenwieser. Paintings by Old Masters Placed in Museums of Art and Private Collections. [Berlin?], n.d., unpaginated, ill.
Primitifs néerlandais et maîtres des XVIe et XVIIe siècles: Collection du château de Nijenrode. Frederik Muller, Amsterdam. July 10, 1923, pp. ix–x, 4, no. 7, pl. VII, dates them about 1485.
Friedrich Winkler. Die altniederländische Malerei: Die Malerei in Belgien und Holland von 1400–1600. Berlin, 1924, p. 136, fig. 81 (Saint John the Baptist), as painted in Bruges at the same time as the Kaufmann and Budapest Nativities.
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 [32.100.40a] with the wing panels of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Francis as a triptych and places it later in David's oeuvre than the Budapest and von Pannwitz [Kaufmann] Nativities.
Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 138.
Franz Dülberg. Niederländische Malerei der Spätgotik und Renaissance. Potsdam, 1929, p. 130, cites the wings as the earliest appearance of David's characteristic landscape style.
[Hippolyte] Fierens-Gevaert and Paul Fierens. Histoire de la peinture flamande des origines à la fin du XVe siècle. Vol. 3, La maturité de l'art flamand. Paris, 1929, p. 80, mentions the wings as works from David's Haarlem period, erroneously locating them in the Simon collection, Berlin.
Sidney P. Noe. "Flemish Primitives in New York." American Magazine of Art 21 (January 1930), pp. 32, 37.
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, fig. 31 (Saint Francis), note 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.
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.
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 safter 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, notes that the Saint Francis on the right wing of Benson's triptych with the Lamentation (collection D. Indalecio Cano y de Luis, Fuentesauco) is taken from the figure of this saint in our wing panel.
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.
Albert Châtelet. "Albert van Ouwater." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 55 (February 1960), p. 71, publishes a panel depicting Saint John the Baptist (Capilla Real, Granada) which he ascribes to Albert van Ouwater and observes that it seems to have been the source for our wing panel with the same saint.
Roger van Schoute. La Chapelle Royale de Grenade: Les primitifs flamands, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas méridionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 6. Brussels, 1963, pp. 18–19, finds the connection between our Saint John the Baptist and the panel of this saint in Granada to be mostly iconographic, and doubts Châtelet's attribution of the latter [see Ref. 1960] to Ouwater.
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.
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.
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, colorpl. 11 (triptych), 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 wing panels and Nativity 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.
Susanne Urbach in Eva Szmodis-Eszláry and Susanne Urbach. Middeleeuwse Nederlandse Kunst uit Hongarije. Ed. Onno Helleman. Exh. cat., Museum Catharijneconvent. Utrecht, 1990, p. 28, mentions our wing panel with Saint John the Baptist in relation to a similar panel ascribed to Isenbrant (cat. no. 9, ill.; Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest).
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. 69, 277–78, 282, 284–85, no. 73, ill. (color), notes that prior to 1905 the panels were cut down at their lower edges and overpainted at their tops and sides to alter their dimensions; dates them about 1485–90 and the Nativity (MMA 32.100.40a) in the early 1480s.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition. New York, 1998, pp. 102, 117–22, 150–51 nn. 20, 50, 51, pp. 216–17, 319, 324, ill., (overall and detail in color, IRR, x-radiograph details), sees in both panels the influence of Jan van Eyck; gives earliest felling date for panel of 1427.
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".
Joaquín Yarza Luaces inGerard David y el paisaje flamenco. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2003, pp. 40, 44, 46–47, 126, nos. 4–5, figs. 17–18 (color).
Susan Urbach. Early Netherlandish Paintings. London, 2015, vol. 1, p. 231 (Saint John), under no. 19a.
Old Masters. Christie's, New York. April 27, 2017, unpaginated, under no. 16.
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