|Title||David Playing before Saul|
15 1/4 x 18 1/8 inches
|Credit line||Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Victor Morawetz Fund|
The most sophisticated American painter of his generation, Allston was born into a prominent, landholding South Carolina family. He left the Lowcountry at an early age to be educated in the North and abroad. He subsequently traveled on the continent and in 1804-08 was in Italy. This sketch and that of "Moses and the Serpent" show his response to Venetian painting: the rapid brushstrokes, ambitious architectural settings and emphatic gestures. They were probably conceived as sketches for larger paintings which were never undertaken.
Saul is being tormented by evil spirits and seeks "a man who is skillful in playing the lyre," and David is chosen. The scene takes place in a dramatically lit interior which has classical details in the columns and sculptured frieze.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "Selections from the Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1977