Scenes from the Life of Absalom

about 1250

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

The reverse side of the Morgan Picture Bible leaf continues the story of David and his rebellious son Absalom. On the upper left, the armies of David and Absalom meet in a fierce battle. Horses and knights overlap each other in the confusion of combat, with the knights raising their weapons above their heads, ready to strike. In the next scene to the right, Absalom's hair catches on the branches of a tree as his mule passes under it. Taking advantage of the situation, David's servants pierce the helpless Absalom with their spears. In the scene below, David anxiously awaits news of the battle, his eyes directed up at a servant, who points to the approaching riders, and at the scene of his son's death above. His pained expression and upraised hand seem to indicate that he expects unwelcome news. An architectural structure and variation in the background color give structure to the miniature's various scenes, echoing the forms and colors of contemporary stained-glass windows.


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