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Friday, July 11, 2014

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Book catalogs images of King David

The first comprehensive survey of the thousands of images of King David, one of the pivotal figures in the Bible's Old Testament, has been published by the Index of Christian Art.

The index, based in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, features an extensive photograph and digital catalog covering the subject matter of more than 200,000 works of Western art from the early apostolic period to 1500 A.D. The new book, "King David in the Index of Christian Art," includes all of the David entries in the index's card files and database -- more than 5,000 entries organized into some 245 recognizable episodes from his richly illustrated life.

David, the founder of Jerusalem, is considered by many the greatest king of Israel. He was a source of inspiration for artists and patrons throughout the medieval world. Regarded as a direct ancestor of Jesus, he appears in countless works of art, from paintings to illuminated Psalters, as a musician, author, warrior, lover, shepherd, politician, worshipper, father, king, refugee and mourner.

"The volume of material in the index files which is devoted to the second king of the Israelites reflects not only David's importance in the Old Testament, but also his significance in medieval art and culture," Colum Hourihane, editor of the volume and director of the index, writes in the introduction.

The cataloged objects range in date from the third to the 15th century and represent 14 different media, including frescoes, ivories, stained glass, sculpture, mosaics and textiles. Each entry gives detailed information on the object's current location, date and primary subject. The catalog is enhanced with more than 100 photographs illustrating a wide range of episodes from David's life.

An index allows readers to browse the medieval world geographically for images of David. The volume also includes an extensive bibliography on David in early Christian, Byzantine and Western medieval art.

The catalog was printed by Princeton University Press. For more information on the book, click here . For more information on the Index of Christian Art, click here .

The book is the second in a series based on the index. The first is titled "Virtue and Vice: The Personifications in the Index of Christian Art" (Princeton University Press, 2000). The next in the series will be "The Labors of the Month and Signs of the Zodiac."

Shown above: The book cover features "David Proclaimed King," an illustration from the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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