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Nabal, Abigail, and David
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Nabal, Abigail, and David

Description Provenance Credit
Description Tapestries like this one provided both insulation against winter's cold and decoration for an otherwise austere great hall of a nobleman's estate. These scenes from the Old Testament story of David, Nabal, and Abigail (1 Samuel) comment on the importance of homage to the powerful who protect you - a good subject for a knight to advertise his homage to his feudal lord in the hall where guests were received. The story is about the sheep farmer, Nabal, whose men and flocks were protected by David's warriors but who refused to feed David's men on a feast day. Angry, David resolved to kill Nabal. When Abigail, Nabal's wife, heard about what had happened, she sent food to David's men and begged David to let her ill-natured husband live. David relented. Later, God struck Nabal down, leading David to propose marriage to Abigail, which she accepted. Inscriptions identify each scene: 1) "Ce que Nabal plainement/ Aux gens de David refusa/ En respondant arrogamment/ Par quoy David fort couroucha" [That which Nabal openly refused to the people of David, replying haughtily, and David became very angry]. 2) "En tant que pour se vengier il/ Proposa destruire Nabal/ Ce que on dist a Abigail/ Lors femme du vilain rural" [And in order to avenge himself, he proposed to destroy Nabal. Which was told to Abigail, at that time wife of this base man]. 3) "David la mort Nabal sca[v]a[nt]/ Envoya ses ambassadeurs/ Vers Abigail florissant/ En regine de boines me[urs]" [When David learned of the death of Nabal, he sent his ambassadors to Abigail the fair as a matter of good form].
Provenance Raoul Heilbronner, Paris Walters Collection
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters before 1931

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ca. 1470 (Renaissance)
Accession Number
Overall H: 173 5/8 x W: 198 in. (441 x 503 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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