An Arsenal of Prayer: King David's Spiritual and Knightly Battles in Medieval Art
The Getty Center
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall
Powerful spiritual characters often exemplify themes of personal salvation in medieval art. The Psalms, attributed to David, illustrate how a shepherd became the king of Israel. As a verbal arsenal of prayer against evil, the book of Psalms and their interpretation by learned commentators viewed David's famous battles with Goliath and Saul in terms of Christ's own moral struggles with the devil. While David was seen as a pious combatant, Christians also identified with the historical events of his life, celebrating his heroism and physical prowess on the battlefield. Inspired by a 13th-century Psalter from Flanders in the exhibition Old Testament Imagery in Medieval Manuscript Illumination, this presentation explores David's dual role as a spiritual warrior and a model of military leadership in the Middle Ages and considers how chivalric culture transformed the person of David in humorous or even hostile expressions in art and prayer.
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