In these two forest scenes by Gerard David, all the attention is focused on nature. There is no story and there are no people involved. Yet they are not independent landscapes, but the wings of an altarpiece. They depict a biblical text announcing the coming of the Messiah. This is what the congregation would have seen when the altarpiece was closed. The inside would have depicted the birth of Christ.
Ramon F. Urrutia, Madrid, 1920; Duveen Brothers Gallery, Paris, 1928; Jules S. Bache Collection, New York, 1928; sometime between 1930 and 1932 the outside wings now in the Mauritshuis were removed from the triptych now in New York and returned to Duveen Brothers; purchased by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. nos. SK-A-3134 and 3135), 1932; on long-term loan from the Rijksmuseum, since 1948
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