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Enthroned Virgin and Child, with Angels

Gerard David, Netherlandish (active Bruges), first documented 1484, died 1523

Made in Netherlands (historical name, 15th-16th century), Europe

c. 1490-1495

Oil on panel

39 1/16 × 25 11/16 inches (99.2 × 65.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Cat. 329

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Jan van Eyck founded the Bruges school of painting, of which Gerard David was the last major figure. Although David worked on a much larger scale than Van Eyck, he too was known for the acute observation of details of the natural world and their rendition in glowing, enamel-like oils.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    In one of the most enchanting early Flemish paintings in the Johnson Collection, Gerard David presents the Virgin enthroned as the Queen of Heaven, and uses simple, monumental forms to underscore the majestic solemnity of her presence. As queen, the Virgin is seated upon an ornately carved throne that is shaded by an embroidered canopy and backed by a shimmering, brocaded cloth of honor; at her feet lies a luxurious carpet with an orientalizing design. The angels wear robes made of shot, or changeant, silk, so called because its color differs depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The celebratory nature of the moment is emphasized by the harp and the lute held by the angels, which allude to the celestial music surrounding the Virgin and Child. All of these severe and formal regal adornments are counterbalanced by the intimacy of the scene, which focuses on the interaction of the mother and child, and his playful attention to the leaves of her prayer book. Katherine Crawford Luber, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 165.