(b Oudewater, nr. Gouda, ?c.1460; d Bruges, 13 Aug. 1523). Netherlandish painter, active for almost all his career in Bruges; he had settled there by 1484, when he became a member of the painters' guild, and after the death of Memlinc in 1494 he became the city's leading painter. At this time the economic importance of Bruges was declining, but it still maintained its prestige as a centre of art and David played an important role in the flourishing export trade in paintings that it developed in the first quarter of the 16th century.
Late in his career he probably also ran a workshop in Antwerp (he is thought to be the ‘Meester Gheraert van Brugghe’ who became a master in the painters' guild there in 1515). His work—extremely accomplished, but conservative and usually rather bland—was very popular and his stately compositions were copied again and again. Among his followers were Ambrosius Benson (d1550) and Adriaen Ysenbrandt, who carried on his tradition until the middle of the 16th century. Almost all his work was on traditional religious themes, but for Bruges town hall he painted a pair of pictures on an obscure secular legend, The Judgement of Cambyses (1498, Groeningemuseum, Bruges), a gory subject (concerning the trial and execution of an unjust judge) to which his reflective style was not ideally suited. These pictures were no doubt intended to rival the judgement paintings by Rogier van der Weyden and Dieric Bouts for the town halls of Brussels and Louvain respectively.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)