Jul 17, 2014
Jan 8, 2007
May 9, 2006

David Playing the Harp before Saul

David Playing the Harp before Saul

c. 1508

Lucas van Leyden

(Dutch, 1494–1533)


Gift of Ralph King 1923.774

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein X.79.27 ; Bartsch VII.27



A skillful player of the harp, David was summoned to the court of King Saul in order to console the king who was often tormented by melancholy. Lucas van Leyden masterfully captured the despair of the king who sits uncomfortably upon his throne, his right foot angled convulsively over the left one, his gaze a blank stare. While playing, David looks calmly upon the ruler, as if to convey his confidence that music will provide the necessary balm to soothe the king’s soul.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Gift of Ralph King

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