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The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and the Three Maries
Gerard David

The Virgin Mary stands in the centre, supported by Saint John as she witnesses her son’s crucifixion. Mary Magdalene, on the left, wipes tears from her eyes with her left hand; in her right hand she holds the jar of ointment with which she is traditionally depicted.

Key facts
Artist Gerard David
Artist dates active 1484; died 1523
Full title The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and the Three Maries
Group Triptych: Christ nailed to the Cross
Date made 1480-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 45 × 42.5 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA)
Inventory number L1226
Location in Gallery Room 5
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Triptych: Christ nailed to the Cross

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This painting was once the centre of a triptych (a painting in three parts), and was originally flanked by Pilate and the Chief Priests on the left and The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and the Three Marys on the right (both now owned by the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp). Together the three panels make sense as a Crucifixion scene, as they include all the characters you would normally find in one.

We don't know when the wings were separated from the central panel. This is one of David’s earliest surviving works, and was probably painted in or after 1491.

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