Free Library of Philadelphia


These miniatures are placed at the beginning of the Seven Penitential Psalms in this book of hours. David, who in the Middle Ages was believed to have composed the psalms, is often shown in penance at the beginning of this cycle prayers. These miniatures depict not his penance but the story of his sin as told in II Kings: 11-17. In the upper miniature, David spies the beautiful Bathsheba bathing. According to the story, he seduces her, and in order to keep her, orders her husband Uriah away to the frontline of battle where he will be killed, effectively murdering him. In the lower miniature, David is shown giving Uriah his orders.

This manuscript has been dated to ca. 1500.

Bathsheba at Bath

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Rare Book Department