King David in the Index of Christian Art
Edited by Colum Hourihane


David--the greatest king of Israel, the founder of Jerusalem, and one of the pivotal figures of the Old Testament--was a rich source of inspiration for artists and their patrons throughout the medieval world. Regarded as a direct ancestor of Jesus, the "sweet psalmist of Israel" appears in countless works of art, from the Dura Europus paintings to the many illuminated psalters of the later medieval period. These depictions of David are as varied as they are numerous. He appears, among other roles, as musician, author, warrior, lover, shepherd, politician, worshipper, father, king, refugee, and mourner. This volume is the first comprehensive survey of the vast profusion of David images in both Byzantium and the West, providing an authoritative guide to the entire range of medieval depictions. With over 5,000 entries organized into more than 240 recognizable episodes from his richly illustrated life, the catalogue includes all of the David entries in the Index of Christian Art's card files and database.

The objects catalogued here range in date from the third to the fifteenth century, and represent fourteen different media, including frescoes, ivories, manuscripts, stained glass, sculpture, mosaics, and textiles. Each entry gives detailed information on the object's current location, date, and primary subject. The catalogue is enhanced by over a hundred photographs illustrating a wide range of episodes from David's life. An index allows the reader to browse the medieval world geographically for images of David still in situ, and the modern world for objects in museums, libraries, and other collections. The volume also includes an extensive bibliography on David in Early Christian, Byzantine, and Western medieval art.

First published in 2002.

Colum Hourihane is director of the Index of Christian Art, Princeton University.