May 09, 2017

The J. Paul Getty Museum Presents Gerard David: An Early Netherlandish Altarpiece Reassembled


Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427


The J. Paul Getty Museum Presents

Gerard David: An Early Netherlandish Altarpiece Reassembled

Installation View: Gerard David, the Christ Nailed to the Cross triptych, 1480-85, oil on panel. The National Gallery, London, Layard Bequest, 1916 (center panel); Pilate’s Dispute with the High Priest (left wing) and The Holy Women and Saint John (right wing), Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen.
Los Angeles – In his time, Gerard David (Oudwater, about 1460 – Bruges, 1523) painted some of the most compelling and technically exquisite works in the Netherlands. On view now through June 18, 2017 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center Gerard David: An Early Netherlandish Altarpiece Reassembled reunites three parts of a remarkable altarpiece from about 1480-85 for the first time since 1927.
The two dramatic side panels depicting Pilate’s Dispute with the High Priest (left) and The Holy Women and Saint John (right) from the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerp have been studied and conserved over the last eighteen months at the Getty Museum. Now reassembled with David’s striking central panel, Christ Nailed to the Cross, on loan from the National Gallery, London, the interior of David’s altarpiece reveals a continuous rocky landscape setting across the three sections, as well as beautiful color harmonies and an array of expressive figures. The reunion of the panels confirms that together the three long-separated paintings form one of the artist’s earliest triptychs. Initial findings from the scientific and art historical study of the paintings are detailed in didactic panels in the exhibition, and further conclusions from the ongoing technical study of the three paintings will be presented at a future date.
Also on view in the exhibition is one of the most pictorially sophisticated Flemish manuscripts in the Getty’s collection, the Spinola Hours, open to captivating miniatures by the Master of James IV of Scotland: The Massacre of the Innocents and The Way to Calvary. The juxtaposition of the Spinola Hours with the Christ Nailed to the Cross triptych affords the extraordinary opportunity to experience five paintings by leading exponents of the Bruges School (about 1500) as an ensemble. Significantly, The Way to Calvary includes the episodes Christ Nailed to the Cross, Pilate Disputing, and the Sorrowing Virgin in a multipart passion narrative, a more typical presentation than David’s unusual separation of these themes. The Getty Museum’s Annunciation by Dieric Bouts (about 1415–1475), a major influence on the young Gerard David, completes the exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by Anne Woollett, curator of paintings at the Getty Museum.

Support for the Conservation Partnership project with the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen and the exhibition has generously been provided by the Getty Museum’s Paintings Council.


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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

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