David Meeting Abigail

Object Details


David Meeting Abigail


Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577 - 1640)




about 1620s


Oil on canvas


123.2 x 228 cm (48 1/2 x 89 3/4 in.)

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With its horizontal format, this biblical scene of classically proportioned figures arranged in graceful poses resembles an ancient Roman frieze. Facial expressions and dramatic gestures serve a narrative purpose, revealing the story for the viewer. Rubens used vivid reds, blues, and yellows to describe shimmering silks and heavy cloaks. On the right, helmets and armor worn by the soldiers gleam in the bright sunlight.

The painting depicts the meeting of Abigail and David. Abigail's husband, Nabal of Carmel, foolishly refused to pay for the protection that David had provided for Nabal's shepherds. Angered, David set off to avenge this misdeed with a large group of soldiers. Seeking forgiveness for her husband's offense, Abigail, shown kneeling in the foreground on the left, offers bread, wine, corn, raisins, and fig-cakes to David and his men. Impressed by Abigail's beauty and generosity, David dismounts and attempts to raise Abigail up. Although not shown here, the story ends with Nabal's dying from a stroke after learning of the disaster his wife had averted. David then proposed marriage to Abigail.

- 1805

Welbore Ellis Agar, died 1805 (London, England), by inheritance to his illegitimate sons, Emmanuel Felix Agar and Welbore Felix Agar, 1805.

1805 - 1806

Emmanuel Felix Agar (England)

1805 - 1806

and Welbore Felix Agar (England) [unsold, Agar sale, Christie's, London, May 2, 1806, lot 36.], purchased by Robert Grosvenor prior to auction, 1806.

1806 - 1845

Robert Grosvenor, first marquess of Westminster, 1767 - 1845 (Eaton Hall, Cheshire, England), by inheritance to Richard Grosvenor.

1845 - 1869

Richard Grosvenor, second marquess of Westminster, 1795 - 1869 (Eaton Hall, Cheshire, England), by inheritance to Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1869.

1869 - 1899

Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, first duke of Westminster, 1825 - 1899 (Eaton Hall, Cheshire, England), by inheritance to his second son, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, 1899.

1899 - 1953

Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, second duke of Westminster, 1879 - 1953 [unsold, Westminster sale, Christie's, London, May 1, 1925, lot 133.], by inheritance to his cousin, William Grosvenor, 1953.

1953 - 1959

William Grosvenor, third duke of Westminster, 1894 - 1963 (Eaton Hall, Cheshire, England) [sold, Westminster sale, Sotheby's, London, June 24, 1959, lot 13, to S. Pollak.]

1959 -

S. Pollak

possibly 1959 -

Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England), sold to Gunter Henle.

by 1964 -

Dr. Gunter Henle (Duisberg, Germany)


Hallsborough Gallery

- 1973

Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

Die Sammlung Henle (February 22 to April 5, 1964) (31)
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud, (Cologne), February 22 to April 5, 1964