In this Old Testament scene, Abigail visits David’s camp to apologize for her husband who had insulted David and his soldiers. Pale and bowed with her eyes downcast, Abigail’s remorse is apparent. Even her donkey droops apologetically. David stands proud in his shiny armor and red flowing cape, but his face suggests tenderness—perhaps alluding to the end of the story when David and Abigail wed after her wicked husband dies.
Seventeenth-century Catholics looked to such Old Testament stories as precursors of the New Testament and as models of moral behavior. An exemplar of humility, Abigail foreshadowed the Virgin Mary and her self-sacrifice. The mighty but forgiving warrior David embodied the militant spirit of the Catholic Church in the 1600s.