Scenes from the Life of David
Leaf from the Winchester Bible
Illuminated by the Master of the Morgan Leaf
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1912
Described as the finest English painting of the twelfth century, this is the Morgan's most important single leaf. The Winchester Bible, the largest and finest English Romanesque Bible, was begun about 1160 but never finished. Four full-page drawings by the Apocrypha Master were executed; two remain in the refectory Bible. The only painted leaf (1170s) is this one, the masterpiece of the Master of the Morgan Leaf. It prefaced the Book of Samuel and depicts in each tier:Saul Watching David Slay Goliath, Saul Hurling a Spear at David and Samuel Anointing David, and Joab Killing Absalom and David Mourning the Death of His Young Son. The Morgan Master simplified the drawing by reducing the number of feet (of both horses and men).