The Family Tree of Saint Anne

Gerard DavidVers 1500

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

This picture shows the genealogy of Saint Anne in a family tree. The Virgin’s family is represented in the same way as that of Jesse, who was an ancestor of Christ, according to the prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament. The subject was popularized in the 13th century by the Golden Legend, which recounts Saint Anne's three marriages. The artist has partly reiterated the composition of a late 15th-century Flemish engraving and has added two donors at prayer. This apocryphal treatment of the Virgin’s family tree was fashionable in Germany and the Low Countries until about 1530. The work, which can be dated to about 1500, is attributed to the studio of Gérard David, a painter who arrived in Bruges in 1483.

The gilded background and refined interlacing motifs associate this panel with the art of the illuminators of the late Gothic period. In contrast, the costumes, the construction of the leafy fronds, and the modeling of the figures are more reminiscent of the Renaissance.

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  • Title: The Family Tree of Saint Anne
  • Creator: Gérard David
  • Date Created: Vers 1500
  • Physical Dimensions: 88 x 69,5 cm
  • Provenance: Achat en 1896
  • Rights: Photo : © Lyon MBA - Gilles Alonso
  • Medium: Oil on wood