David before Saul (David ante Saúl)

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David before Saul (David ante Saúl)
Scenes such as the fight between David and the Philistine giant Goliath, or his relationship with Bathsheba, were tremendously popular in the Renaissance, and so was the meeting of the hero with King Saul. The latter would soon display unbearable envy of the young man, both for his victory and for being cheered by his people ("Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands" [1 Samuel 18, 7]), and also for the friendship of Yonatan, a son of Saul, who ‘loved him as his own soul’ according to the biblical text.

Saul's jealousy

The king soon realized that David could overthrow his throne and, possessed by the “evil spirit”, he tried twice to stab him with a spear while the hero played the harp: "an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall". This episode is left out of the tapestry, which shows instead a pleasant meeting between Saul, sitting on his throne, and David, who comes accompanied by Yonatan, with richly-dressed men and women coming towards them in a succession of gallant scenes.

Series Story of David

Model by Bernard van Orley

Manufacture Brussels, c. 1525

Fabric Silk and wool

Size 560 x 410 cm

Location Cathedral of Burgos

Origin A bequest to the cathedral in 1535 by Cardinal Íñigo López de Mendoza

On Displauy St James's chapel (museum)


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