King David Playing the Harp (c.1627-1628)

Rubens, Peter Paul (1577-1640)

King David Playing the Harp
Oil on panel, 44.8 x 66 cm
Barnes FoundationPhiladelphia

The biblical King David strums his harp, performing the music of heaven in concert with five angels. Ornate fictive architecture frames this celestial tableau. Despite its small size, Rubens‘s painting displays a striking monumentality: this is due to its status as a modello (preparatory study) for a tapestry in his Triumph of the Eucharist cycle. The tapestries were displayed on special occasions in the church of the Convent of Descalzas Reales, Madrid. (BF)