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Gerard David, Canon Bernardijn Salviati and Three Saints

Key facts
Full title Canon Bernardijn Salviati and Three Saints
Artist Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Date made after 1501
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 103.4 × 94.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by William Benoni White, 1878
Inventory number NG1045
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Canon Bernardijn Salviati and Three Saints
Gerard David

A thin-faced man kneels in prayer, surrounded by three saints. This is Bernardijn Salviati, illegitimate son of a Florentine merchant, and canon of the Collegiate Church of Saint Donatian in Bruges. The saints are, from left to right: Martin of Tours, with the beggar he gave his cloak to on the road behind him; Bernardijn’s name saint, the Franciscan Bernardino of Siena, in a grey habit; and Donatian, patron of Bernardijn’s church.

The panel, which originally had an arched top, was almost certainly part of a diptych (a painting in two parts) commissioned for the chapel of Saint John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene at Saint Donatian’s, which Bernardijn was given permission to restore in January 1501. The other panel probably showed the Crucifixion (Staatliche Museen, Berlin). On the back of our panel is a ruined picture apparently showing the resurrected Christ at an open window.

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