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David in Prayer

David in Prayer
Rembrandt van Rijn
(Dutch, 1606-1669)
David in Prayer
1652
Etching and drypoint
(80.238)
Gift of Gladys and Saul Weinberg in memory of Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.

The son of a miller, Rembrandt van Rijn became one of Amsterdam’s most successful artists in the 1630s. While his paintings appealed to wealthy patrons, the artist also produced numerous prints that were affordable to members of the middle class. Rembrandt mastered the tonal qualities of etching, creating dramatic light effects and powerfully expressive images.

This print illustrates a story narrated in the second Book of Samuel in the Bible, in which King David prays for forgiveness after his adultery with Bathsheba and his involvement in the death of her husband. Rembrandt’s use of chiaroscuro (the dramatic contrast of lights and darks) creates a sense of emotional drama in this otherwise quiet scene.

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