Initial D: David Pointing to His Mouth

Object Details

Title:

Initial D: David Pointing to His Mouth

Artist/Maker(s):

Master of the Ingeborg Psalter (French, active about 1195 - about 1210)

Culture:

French

Date:

after 1205

Medium:

Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 31 x 21.9 cm (12 3/16 x 8 5/8 in.)

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A demon tugs on David's cloak, tempting him to sin with his tongue, as warned against in the first line of the psalm: "I said I will heed my ways that I not sin with my tongue." The illuminator masterfully rendered David's jaw, clenched against the demon's temptation. An angel rushes in from the clouds and points to David's eye, which may be a reference to his lustful spying on Bathsheba. Medieval commentators associated Psalm 38 with David's sin of sending Bathsheba's husband to be killed in battle, leaving him free to pursue her.

Related Works
Exhibitions
The Medieval Best Seller: Illuminated Books of Hours (October 29, 2002 to January 19, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 29, 2002 to January 19, 2003
Temptation and Salvation: The Psalms of King David (June 9 to August 16, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 9 to August 16, 2009