Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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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
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Because it was thought they represented the ancient rulers of France, all of the monumental kings decorating the portals of the famed Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris were decapitated and presumably destroyed during the French Revolution. Until recently, this head of King David was the only known surviving head from this rich decorative program. Carved of a fine-grained limestone from the Paris region, the highly expressive face was originally more emphatic, as the eyes were inlaid with lead. The head comes from the right-hand portal of the west façade dedicated to themes of the life of Saint Anne and to the genealogy and early life of Jesus. David was regarded as an ancestor of Jesus. Carved about the middle of the twelfth century, the portal was not installed until the early years of the thirteenth century.
From the Saint Anne Portal, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris (ca. 1180–ca. 1793 (?)).; possibly Dr. Lecorché, France (?); [ Lucien J. Demotte, Paris and New York (through Manuel Cobo, by 1930–sold 1937)]; [ C. Joret, Paris (1937)]; [ Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc., New York (1937–sold 1938)]
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