Salvator Rosa: Saul and the Witch of Endor (1668)

(Louvre Museum, Paris, France)

Subject of this painting is a story from the Old Testament in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3–25. According to the story, King Saul of the Kingdom of Israel wanted to know what the best course of action was against the Philistines. Saul received no answer from God in his dreams so Saul visits in disguise a witch from the city of Endor. The witch summons the spirit of the prophet Samuel for Saul to give him an answer. Samuel complains for being disturbed and predicts that Saul will perish with his entire army in the coming battle. in the following battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, the army of Saul is defeated and Saul commits suicide. Rosa shows us the main characters of the story. Saul is the man in armor in the lower left corner, the standing figure is the spirit of Samuel. Painting from 1668.