King David does repentance (1510) by Albrecht Durer

King David does repentance - Albrecht Durer - 1510

Artwork Information

TitleKing David does repentance
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, US

About King David does repentance

This artwork, titled “King David does repentance,” was created by Albrecht Dürer in 1510. It is a pen drawing and part of the Northern Renaissance art movement that focused on religious themes, which is obvious in this genre. The piece is held at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, USA.

“King David does repentance” by Albrecht Dürer depicts a powerful portrayal of a Biblical scene where King David is seen in a state of deep contrition. The intricate pen work illustrates a barefoot, muscular King David kneeling, with his hands pressed together in fervent prayer. His eyes are cast upward, possibly in appeal to God, which reflects the emotional gravity of his repentance. David is half-clad, with his regal garments loosened, representing his humility before the divine.

The setting of the artwork places David in what appears to be an architectural interior, possibly a sanctuary or private chamber where he sought solitude for his penitence. On the right half of the composition, a richly detailed altar or table adorned with a candlestick is visible, hinting at the sacrificial and liturgical context of his prayer. The background features meticulously drawn architectural elements, such as bricks, arches, and hanging drapery, showing Dürer’s attention to texture and depth. The composition masterfully conveys a narrative of sorrow, introspection, and reverence, consistent with religious themes typical to the Northern Renaissance.

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