Painter/Artist: Gerard David

Netherlandish School. Perhaps a pupil of Bouts; influenced by Memling.


A CANON AND HIS PATRON. In the foreground the Canon kneels with clasped hands towards the right. He wears a surplice and plaited lawn over a black cassock furred with sable. Immediately behind him, in the centre of the picture, stands his patron, St. Bernardino of Siena, in the habit of the Friars Minor, his right hand extended and in his left a large book. To the left stands St. Martin, in profile to the right, in mitre and cope; his left hand grasps his pastoral staff, and his right is lifted in benediction. Beyond the Canon, to the right, bending towards him, stands St. Donatian in processional vestments. His right hand grasps his crosier, his left carries his attributea wheel with five tapers. Landscape background with heavy foliage to the left, and a hill to the right.

One of two shutters commissioned in 1501 by Bernardino de Salviatis, Canon of St. Donatian, Bruges.

Bequeathed to the National Gallery by William Benoni White, who had refused the Directors’ offer of L1,000 for it.

THE MARRIAGE OF ST. CATHERINE In the centre of a garden terrace paved with tiles the Madonna is seated, facing us, between two columns of red marble. Behind her hangs a cloth of honour of gold and dark blue brocade. She is attired in a plain dark robe and full blue mantle. On her right knee she holds the Child, whose lower limbs are covered with fine cambric drapery. His left hand clasps a coral rosary which hangs from His right shoulder, and His right arm is outstretched to give the mystic ring to St. Catherine, who kneels at His side on the left richly attired in crimson and gold brocade, and crowned. Beside her, in the left foreground, kneels the donor, Canon Richard de Visch van der Capelle, in a lawn surplice, a greyhound lying in front of him. On the right are seated St. Barbara and St. Mary Magdalene-the former with an open book in her hands. Beyond the wall enclosing the terrace are on the left a house, and on the right a church.

Painted for the donor, who was one of the Canons of the Collegiate Church of St. Donatian at Bruges, about 1501.

Bequeathed by Mrs. Lyne Stephens in 1895,


THE MARRIAGE AT CANA A square table is spread in a room with an open colonnade on the left, through which are seen the old palace of the Liberty of Bruges and the Church of St, DOnatian, At the left side of the table; His back to the colonnade, Christ sits with His right hand raised in benediction as He looks towards the five large water-pots standing on the tiled pavement in the centre foreground. On either side of Him is seated a young woman, the one nearest to us wearing a white apron. At the farther side of the table, with their backs to the wall, are the Virgin, who bends towards Christ, and to the right the bride between two women. At the right side sits the master of the feast between two women. On this side of the table the bridegroom stands carving a fowl, and a young woman is seated on the left. In the centre, between these two, stands a man-servant holding another water-pot in one hand and a pewter tankard in the other looking towards Christ. In the foreground to the right a young man is kneeling by the water-pots, holding a silver-gilt beaker in his right hand and its lid in his left. A boy is bringing in a dish through an opening in the colonnade. In the extreme left and right foreground are the kneeling figures of the donor, Jan der Sheelen, with his little boy behind him, and his wife.

Painted for the altar of the Confraternity of the Holy Blood in the Upper Church of St. Basil, Bruges. A sketch for it was submitted to the Confraternity in 1519, but it could not have been painted before May, 1523, when the donor was elected provost, seeing that he is represented in the provost’s costume-scarlet tunic, and a black robe lined with sable and embroidered with branches of silver and drops of blood. At that date David was ill, and died in the following August, and there seems little doubt that the picture was completed by his pupil, Adrian Isenbrant. The initial A is carved on the stool on this side of the table. (Weale.)


THE MADONNA AND SAINTS The Madonna is seated in the centre, facing us, on a stool covered with red drapery which falls on to the tiled pavement. She wears a plain dark blue robe and mantle, and a richly jewelled crown. With her right hand she supports the Child on her knee, and with her left presents to Him a bunch of grapes, which He holds with both hands. On each side of the Virgin stands an angel with outstretched wings clothed in white, one playing a mandoline, the other a viola; and between these and the Virgin appear the heads of St. Fausta and St. Apollonia, who are standing behind.

To the left are seated four saints. St. Agnes,with her lamb at her feet, conversing with St. Catherine, who, richly attired in crimson and gold brocade and crowned, holds an open book in both hands. St. Dorothea, holding a basket of flowers, is on the extreme left, and behind her the painter has introduced his own head. To the right is a group of five women, St. Godelava and St. Barbara sitting in front with open books in their hands; St.. Cecilia behind, seated at her organ; and to the extreme right St. Lucy, beside whom stands the painter’s wife, Cornelia, with hands joined in prayer.

This picture, which is considered David’s masterpiece, was presented by him in 1509 to the Convent of the Carmelite Nuns of Sion at Bruges.


THE JUDGMENT OF CAMBYSES. Two panels, each measuring representing the story recorded by Herodotus of how Cambyses, King of Egypt, dealt with Sisamnes, a judge who was accused of taking a bribe, by having him flayed and his skin hung behind the judge’s chair, appointing the son of Sisamnes as his successor.

(a) The scene takes place in an open gallery or portico looking on to a square in the background. In the centre Sisamnes sits in the chair, his cap in his right hand, facing Cambyses, who, accompanied by other judges and courtiers, stands in front of the dais insisting on the truth of the accusation with the first finger of his right hand laid on the thumb of his left. An executioner holds Sisamnes by the right arm. In the foreground are a white greyhound and a poodle.

(b) Sisamnes is stretched naked on a long table, being flayed by four executioners in the presence of the King and his courtiers. Under the table lie his clothes. In the background, to the left, his son is seen seated in the chair-behind which is hung his father’s skin-apparently in the act of refusing a bribe.

Painted 1488-98 for the Municipality of Bruges.