National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: The Netherlands and France in the 1500s

Overview | Start Tour

image of Portrait of a Man image of A Lady in Her Bath
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« back to Northern European painting of the 15th-16th centuries


Much of this tour is made up of paintings that are disassembled parts of church altarpieces. Altarpieces began to appear in the twelfth century. After priests in the Latin church of western Europe began to stand in front of the altar when saying mass, a space was created on the altar for elaborate reliquaries or, lacking important relics to display, for a dramatic painted backdrop. Large assemblages of painted and gilded wooden panels, some more than twenty-feet high, became the focus of church decoration. Altarpieces, and with them the art of painting on wooden panels, gained new prominence and began to attract the greatest artists.



1Master of Saint Giles, The Baptism of Clovis, c. 1500
2Master of Frankfurt, Saint Anne with the Virgin and the Christ Child, c. 1511/1515
3Gerard David, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c. 1510
4Gerard David and Workshop, The Saint Anne Altarpiece: Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child [middle panel], c. 1500/1520
5Bernard van Orley, The Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1513
6Adriaen Isenbrant, The Adoration of the Shepherds, probably 1520/1540
7Corneille de Lyon, Portrait of a Man, c. 1536/1540
8François Clouet, A Lady in Her Bath, c. 1571