The subject is taken from the First Book of Samuel (20: 35-42). David was close friends with the son of King Saul, Prince Jonathan, who gave him valuable presents of clothes and weapons. Saul, who suspected David of pretensions to the royal throne, sought to kill him, but when Jonathan learned of his father's intention, he warned his friend of the danger and advised him to run away. David found shelter by the stone Ezel, where their last meeting took place. Following the Old Testament text, Rembrandt shows David pressing his friend to his chest and weeping uncontrolledly: "and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded." The young David cannot contain his grief, while Jonathan's more mature years enable him to keep back the tears, although his face expresses the deepest sorrow. The theme of love and suffering which lies at the heart of the biblical story is captured with amazing force in the painting. Rembrandt painted the picture soon after the death of his beloved wife Saskia, and perhaps its subject is associated with his own feelings. The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg. Photo by Vladimir Terebenin.


  • Title: David and Jonathan
  • Creator: Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt
  • Date Created: 1642
  • Provenance: Imperial Picture Gallery in the Monplaisir Palace, Peterhof. 1882
  • Physical Dimensions: w730 x h615 mm
  • Original Title: Давид и Ионафан
  • Type: Statue
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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