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Followers of Gerard David, 'Saint Paul and a Donatrix', probably about 1515

Key facts
Full title Saint Paul and a Donatrix
Artist Followers of Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Series Two Shutters from a Triptych
Date made probably about 1515
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 81.2 × 26.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG657.2
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saint Paul and a Donatrix
Followers of Gerard David

A well-dressed woman, hands folded in prayer, kneels in what was once the right wing of a triptych (a painting in three parts). Behind her is Saint Paul. The other wing, also in the National Gallery’s collection, shows her husband kneeling with Saint Peter. The central panel is missing, but it was presumably a scene from sacred history. We don't know who the two donors were, but they were clearly wealthy people.

On the back, visible when the altarpiece was closed, is Saint Nicholas of Myra, painted in grisaille (shades of black, white and grey) to look like a stone statue in a niche. The paintings on these wings were the work of several artists influenced by Gerard David, probably working in one of the larger Bruges workshops in around 1515.

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Two Shutters from a Triptych


These paintings of a male and a female donor, probably husband and wife, once formed the wings of a triptych (a painting made up of three parts). They kneel in front of their patron saints, Peter and Paul.

We don't know who the couple were, but their clothing was fashionable in around 1515 and they were evidently wealthy: the woman has an expensive rosary of red and yellow beads, and a long train. She shows off large areas of costly furs in an open display of wealth.

The paintings seem to be the work of three artists, the most competent of whom drew and painted the donor. A second did the patron saints; the same artist, working quickly, or else a third, less talented, did the outside of the wings. All three were much influenced by Gerard David and were probably working in one of the larger Bruges workshops.