A skillful player of the harp, David was summoned to the court of King Saul in order to console the king who was often tormented by melancholy. Lucas van Leyden masterfully captured the despair of the king who sits uncomfortably upon his throne, his right foot angled convulsively over the left one, his gaze a blank stare. While playing, David looks calmly upon the ruler, as if to convey his confidence that music will provide the necessary balm to soothe the king’s soul.

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  • Title: David Playing the Harp before Saul
  • Creator: Lucas van Leyden (Dutch, 1494-1533)
  • Date Created: c. 1508
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1923.774
  • Medium: engraving
  • Department: Prints
  • Culture: Netherlands, 16th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of Ralph King
  • Collection: PR - Engraving
  • Accession Number: 1923.774

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