Gerard David (Netherlandish, ca. 1455–1523)
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Central panel 35 1/2 x 28 in. (90.2 x 71.1 cm); each wing 35 1/2 x 12 3/8 in. (90.2 x 31.4 cm)
The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.20a–c)
In a characteristically Netherlandish treatment of the Nativity, David focuses our attention on the mystery of the Incarnationthat is, Christ's birth and sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. The sheaf of grain parallel to the manger refers to John 6:41: "I am the bread which came down from Heaven." Woodland scenes, originally on the reverse of the wings, are now in the Mauritshuis, The Hague.