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Art & Design

Maerten van Heemskerck, Triumph of David, 1559, Museum Works of Art Fund

Maerten van Heemskerck

Triumph of David

Maerten van Heemskerck
Netherlandish, 1498-1574
Triumph of David
pen and ink over underdrawing in black chalk on paper; incised for transfer
18.3 x 26 cm (7 3/16 x 10 5/16 inches)
Museum Works of Art Fund 51.095

The Haarlem artist Maarten van Heemskerck created this drawing in preparation for a six-print series on the theme of Patience. Van Heemskerck drew the Old Testament King David trailed by two men, King Saul and the captive Shimei. Both made attempts on David’s life. In the background, a diminutive, younger David stands before the giant Goliath. The presence of his human nemeses coupled with the triumphal procession motif signal David’s ultimate moral and spiritual victory over adversity. Such subjects were intended as didactic examples, providing models for appropriate behavior. Van Heemskerck’s careful pen outlines and hatch marks indicated to the engraver the appropriate contours and patterns of shading and thus reflect the drawing’s function as a print design.

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