Archangel Gabriel; The Virgin Annunciate

Gerard David Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 953

Gerard David painted in Bruges all his life. Where he trained is unknown, though his early works show the influence of his northern Netherlandish roots, and of the art of Hugo van der Goes and Dieric Bouts. These two Annunciation panels, along with the depictions of the Passion that decorated their reverses (1975.1.119), originally formed the movable wings of an altarpiece. When the wings were closed, the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Annunciate were shown. When opened, on certain feast days, the Christ Carrying the Cross and the Resurrection would have been displayed, flanking a central image, perhaps the Lamentation. Characteristic of David's mature style are the deep, translucent colors and the sensitive integration of figures and space in the Passion scenes. 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.

Archangel Gabriel; The Virgin Annunciate, Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges), Oil on oak panel

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