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David Playing Harp to Saul

David Playing Harp to Saul

Bernardo Cavallino (in 1625 - 1650)

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The shepherd boy David was summoned to the court, because he was the only one who, with his harp playing, could chase away the evil spirit that had taken possession of King Saul (Samuel 16:14-23). During one of these performances, the king fell into a rage and threw a spear at David. The painting shows the king, on the right with the spear in has hand, while he raises his right hand to David, who is completely lost in his playing and has no idea of what is about to happen. They are surrounded by soldiers and courtiers who do not participate in the event, but simply act as extras in a play. Cavallino painted this subject on two further occasions; these works are found in Vienna and London.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title David Playing Harp to Saul
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 130 cm
Height 94.5 cm
Artists Schilder: Bernardo Cavallino
Accession number St 115
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1961
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1961
Age artist Between 9 and 34 years old
Exhibitions The Collection Enriched (2011)
Geographical origin Italy > Southern Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Bernardo Cavallino

Napels 1616 - Napels 1656

Bernardo Cavallino was a painter from Naples. He was one of the most reputable painters in his city in the 1640s and 1650s. Of the eighty works attributed to...

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