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Saint Peter and a Donor
Followers of Gerard David
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A man kneels in prayer, his patron saint, Peter – identifiable by the key he holds – standing behind him. This panel was once the left wing of a triptych (a painting in three parts); the right wing, which shows his wife, is also in the National Gallery’s collection. These figures and the missing central panel would have been visible when the altarpiece was open.

When the altarpiece was closed you would have seen the back of the wings, which are painted in grisaille (shades of black, white and grey). On the back of this panel is Saint Jerome, monk, hermit and translator of the Bible. A small lion jumps up at him like an eager dog. While Jerome was living as a hermit in the desert he removed a thorn from a lion’s foot and it became his devoted companion.

Key facts
Artist Followers of Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Full title Saint Peter and a Donor
Series Two Shutters from a Triptych
Date made probably about 1515
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 81.3 x 27 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG657.1
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Shutters from a Triptych

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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.

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