Skip to main content
Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam

King David and his companions emerge from the cave of Adullam. They cannot enter the city of Bethlehem and the valley below as the Philistines, whose pitched tents are just visible in the bottom left corner, occupy both. Nevertheless, three of the King’s soldiers have bravely ventured out to fulfil his wish for a drink of water, and they have returned to offer it to him. The King raises his hands, refusing to drink. He is ashamed at having risked their lives and offers the water instead to God. This scene closely follows the account in the Old Testament book of Samuel, which was rarely painted during the seventeenth century.

The composition, with its foreground activity framed by a tree and cave, leading to a hazy evening sky, is typical of Claude’s idealised landscapes. Close inspection reveals many intricate details: different plants have been placed along the bottom edge, the valley is occupied by small-scale animated figures, and buildings merge with the landscape beyond.

Key facts
Artist Claude
Artist dates 1604/5? - 1682
Full title Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam
Date made 1658
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 111.4 x 186.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Holwell Carr Bequest, 1831
Inventory number NG6
Location in Gallery Room 29
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo