Artist: Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges)
Date: ca. 1500
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: Arched top, 6 1/8 x 4 3/4 in. (15.6 x 12.1 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number: 14.40.636
David also worked as a manuscript illuminator, a skill reflected in this picture’s delicacy of execution. The panel—now in a modern frame—originally formed the right wing of a devotional diptych that would close like a book and thus could easily be used by a traveler during a journey. While its pendant (Bearsted collection, Upton House, Warwickshire) emphasized the loving relationship between the Virgin and Child, this painting depicts the drama of Christ’s departure for Jerusalem and his ultimate sacrifice. Mary, accompanied by the weeping Mary Magdalen and Martha, serves as a model of compassion for the viewer.