David and Absalom by Rembrandt

This drawing belongs to the last decade of the artist's activity.


Ink & wash
16 x 22 cm
Art Fund grant:
£500 ( Total: £2,500)
Acquired in:
Angus MacDonald

It is one of the most monumental and moving of his late drawings, carried out in the favourite medium of his old age, the reed pen, whose line has more the quality of a brush. The story of the reconciliation of David and Absalom from the Bible has the phrase 'and when he had called back Absalom, he came to the King, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the King: and the King kissed Absalom'. This seems to have been much in Rembrandt's mind at this time as there are several other drawings, a painting, and an etching, with David as the central figure but showing different incidents from the one represented in this drawing. The composition of the drawing was known from a pupil's copy in the Print Room at Dresden but the original only came to light in an English private collection in 1960.


Anon; Angus MacDonald

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8181 www.britishmuseum.org

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