The Prophet Nathan reprehends King David

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The Prophet Nathan reprehends King David

The third and last panel is centered in a late Gothic architectural frame. In the center, David and Bathsheba are seated on a throne, below them at their feet the Prophet Nathan reproaches David.

God and the Prophet Natham

The royal couple react with gestures of contrition, surrounded by their courtiers luxuriously dressed. Some ladies hold instruments, while others seem to discuss the moral of this story. To left, Nathan is kneeling before God the Father in the clouds, receiving instructions as to the instruction of God’s favorite, David.

Temptation and adultery

This panel concludes a dramatic story of David’s life: his temptation, his adultery, Nathan’s reproaches and David and Bathsheba’s penitence, constitute the moral essence of this series. A sinner even a king must repent for his sins. This allegorical lesson is mirrored here for the royal owner, Manuel I, to reflect upon.

The creative process

Guy Delmarcel has suggested the cartoons of this series may have been designed by the same artist who created a set of the Triumphs of Petrarch bought by Isabel of Castile, the Catholic Queen, in 1504. A panel of which has survived (the Triumph of Fame), recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


A red banner above in a border filled with flowers and leafy branches, is inscribed with gold letters and scrolls reads: NATHAM. DAVID. ARGUEBAT. FACINUS. REX. COGNOSCEBAT. LACRIMOS [US]. MULTUM. FLEBAT. [“Nathan admonishes David, the king recognizes his errors, is filled with remorse and cries unconsoled.”]

Series The History of David and Bathsheba

Third panel of the series

Model Anonymous

Manufacture Unknown, Brussels, 1505

Fabric Gold, silk and wool

Size 350 x 342 cm

Location Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Origin Collection of Manuel I of Portugal. In 1543 three tapestries were included by Catherine of Austria in the dowry of her daughter Princess Maria when she married Prince Philip of Spain. After the king’s death in 1598, recorded in a post-mortem inventory of Philip II

On display Tapestry Museum

National Heritage Inv. n. 10005829


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