Archangel Gabriel; The Virgin Annunciate
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.
Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges)
The Dutch School painters can be dated as Early Netherlandish (1400–1500), Dutch Renaissance (1500–1584), and, later, Dutch Golden Age painting in the United Provinces. The detailed realism of Early Netherlandish painting, led by Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the 1420s and 1430s, is today generally considered to be the beginning of the early Northern Renaissance in painting. This style was greatly respected in Italy, but there was little reciprocal influence on the North until nearly the end of the 15th century. Despite frequent cultural and artistic exchange, the Antwerp Mannerists (1500–1530) were unrelated to Italian Mannerism. Among notable northern painters were highly individualistic artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder who developed styles that were imitated by many subsequent generations. In the 16th century northern painters increasingly traveled to Italy, so the art of Michelangelo and Raphael and the late Renaissance Mannerism had a great impact on their work. Hieronymus Bosch and Geertgen tot Sint Jans are well-known examples of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Dutch painters. In the northern Netherlands, the Reformation brought religious painting almost completely to an end. Portrait painting was slow to spread from the elite to new riches. By the end of the 16th century, artists such as Karel van Mander and Hendrik Goltzius collected in Haarlem in a brief but intense phase of Northern Mannerism that also spread to Flanders. Between 1605 and 1635 over 100,000 paintings were produced in Haarlem. Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jan Steen are just a few names form the seventeenth century.