David, Gerard (circa 1460–1523) was an Early Netherlandish painter and manuscript illuminator known for his brilliant use of color. He was born at Oudewater, now in southern Holland, but he worked mainly in Bruges, where he entered the painters' guild in 1484 and became the city's leading artist after the death of Memling in 1494.

David had been completely forgotten when in the early 1860s he was rescued from oblivion by William Henry James Weale, whose researches in the archives of Bruges brought to light the main facts of the painter's life and led to the reconstruction of David's artistic personality, beginning with the recognition of David's only documented work, "The Virgin Among the Virgins" at Rouen. There is now documentary evidence for the following: that David came to Bruges in 1483, presumably from Haarlem, where he had formed his early style under Albert van Oudewater; he joined the guild of St Luke at Bruges in 1484 and became dean of the guild in 1501; in 1496 he married Cornelia Cnoop, daughter of the dean of the goldsmiths' guild; he became one of the town's leading citizens; he died on August 13, 1523 and was buried in the Church of Our Lady at Bruges.

In his early work, David had followed Haarlem artists such as Dirck Bouts and Albert van Oudewater, though he had already given evidence of superior power as a colourist. In Bruges he studied and copied masterpieces by Van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, and Hugo van der Goes. Here he came directly under the influence of Memling, the master whom he followed most closely. It was from him that David acquired a solemnity of treatment, greater realism in the rendering of human form, and an orderly arrangement of figures.

He also worked closely with the leading manuscript illuminators of the day, and seems to have been brought in to paint specific important miniatures himself. Several of his drawings also survive, and elements from these appear in the works of other painters and illuminators for several decades after his death.


"The triptych of Jean Des Trompes" (central panel) (1505) Groeningmuseum, Bruges, Belgium.



"Adoration of the Magi" Panel. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.



"The Virgin among the Virgins" (1509) Oil on canvas, 118 x 212 cm - 46.5 x 83.5 in. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, France.



"Altarpiece of St. Michael" Oil on wood, 66 x 53 cm - 26 x 20.9 in. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.



"The Judgment of Cambyses (left panel)" (1498) Oil on wood, 202 x 172.8 cm - 79.5 x 68 in. Groeninge Museum, Bruges, Belgium.



"The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine" (1505-10) Oil tempera on wood, 106 x 144 cm - 41.7 x 56.7 in. National Gallery, London, UK.



"The Marriage at Cana" (1500) Oil on wood, 100 x 128 cm - 39.4 x 50.4 in. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.

Text source: 'Wikipedia' ( and others.

Related Artists:


Related Terms: Realism, Miniature.


share this page (aged 13 or over only)


About Colorland, Site Policy & Important Notices. Colorland Network©Gabriel Picart. All rights reserved.