Saul and David

Rembrandt, Saul and David (detail), 1660, oil on canvas, MuseumMauritshuis, The Hague.

This is Rembrandt's second rendition of this theme from 1Sam 18:10. This time around Rembrandt portrayed Saul as melancholy and pensive, clearly moved by David’s music. In the previous piece Saul is powerful and in control but clearly threatened by David. The painting itself has complicated history. For hundreds of years, it was a known as a Rembrandt painting. Then it was split in half in the nineteenth century and became two Rembrandt paintings. Then in the 1960’s its origin was disputed and it was considered not a Rembrandt at all – just a studio imitation of the master's style. It was re-attributed to Rembrandt in 2014.
David plays the harp for Saul by Rembrandt

1Sam 18:10

Saul Tries to Kill David
10The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day ... View more

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