Quantcast

Back to browse highlights

Head of King David

Date:
ca. 1145
Geography:
Made in Paris
Culture:
French
Medium:
Limestone, light fine-grained
Dimensions:
Overall: 11 11/16 x 8 5/16 x 8 3/8 in. (29.7 x 21.1 x 21.3 cm) weight: 33lb. (15kg)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1938
Accession Number:
38.180
  • Description

    During the French Revolution all of the monumental Old Testament kings decorating the portals of the famed cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris were decapitated and presumably destroyed, as it was thought at the time they represented the ancient rulers of France. Until recently, this extraordinary head of King David was the only known surviving head from this rich decorative program. Carved of a fine-grained limestone from the area, the highly expressive face of King David was originally even more emphatic, as the eyes were intended to be inlaid with lead. The head comes from the right-hand portal of the west façade dedicated to themes of the life of Saint Anne, the Infancy of Christ, and his genealogy. Carved around the middle of the twelfth century, the portal was not installed until the early years of the thirteenth century.

  • Provenance

    From the Saint Anne Portal, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris (ca. 1180–ca. 1793 (?)).; [ Manuelo Cobo, Paris]; [ Lucien J. Demotte, Paris and New York (1930-sold 1937)]; [ C. Joret(1937)]; [ Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc., New York (1937-sold 1938)]

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
467647

Close