Jan 13, 2016
Jul 21, 2014

David Playing the Harp before Saul

David Playing the Harp before Saul


after Frans Floris

(Netherlandish, 1519–1570)

Chiaroscuro woodcut

Support: Beige (2) laid paper

Sheet: 33.4 x 47.9 cm (13 1/8 x 18 7/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1997.189

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein I, Strauss 101, Bialler 3a/e



The soothing effect of David’s music upon the melancholic King Saul, as relayed in the Old Testament and depicted here by Frans Floris, is the earliest visual evidence of the therapeutic use of music. Floris’s woodcut would have had contemporary relevance in its affirmation of Martin Luther’s belief that music-a divine power that creates order—had been made by God to combat the destructive power of evil.

See also
PR - Chiaroscuro
Type of artwork: 

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