David and Uriah

Wenceslaus Hollar, David and Uriah, 1638. Woodcut, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Toronto.

Hollar was a master printmaker. He illustrated a number of books but is most well-known for his series of etchings done of London before and after the Great Fire of 1666. This example of his work is a woodcut, done in the style of Hans Holbein. Here he depicts King David on the right, handing the orders to Bathsheba’s husband Uriah that will send him to his death. Hollar was known for his ability to imbue his prints with lively movement. Here the clashing soldiers in the back and the restless figures in the foreground give the impression of a loyal soldier rushing from battle to receive new orders from his king. The figures behind the king seem unable to face Uriah and this adds to the anxiety of the moment.

David and Uriah

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