About this artwork

This is the pair to Christ as the Man of Sorrows (NG 2410). Both are amongst the most original examples of nineteenth-century religious painting.  Instead of treating the wilderness as an Oriental desert, such as Holman Hunt painted in The Scapegoat, Dyce has re-interpreted it as located in the Scottish Highlands, his object in doing this was most likely to give the story greater immediacy and reality to British viewers. The two paintings contrast youth and maturity, spring and autumn, hope and grief, the Old Testament and the New, reminding the viewer that Christ was of the lineage of David, and that David was his precursor.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    David in the Wilderness
  • date created:
    About 1860
  • materials:
    Oil on millboard
  • measurements:
    34.30 x 49.50 cm (framed: 65.60 x 81.00 x 8.80 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the aid of the National Heritage Purchase Grant (Scotland) 1981
  • accession number:
    NG 2409
  • gallery:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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William Dyce

William Dyce