A Peek into Our Collections: Samuel Anointing Saul

October 17, 2014
François de Nomé, Samuel Anointing Saul, second quarter 17th century. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Paul E. and Gabriele B. Geier, 2012.62.

Showcasing the breadth and depth of our collections—from ancient to modern times and across a variety of media—A Peek into Our Collections offers a window on what will be on view when our new facility opens to the public on November 16.

François de Nomé, Samuel Anointing Saul, second quarter 17th century, French, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum.

Set in a bizarre landscape, François de Nomé’s oil painting depicts the Old Testament episode of Samuel anointing Saul. Near-monochrome shades of gray (grisaille) give the work a dreamlike quality and also make it difficult to establish a time of day, while the stretched perspective of the receding city walls complicates the sense of space. A structure that at first glance appears to be a Roman triumphal arch on closer inspection depicts scenes that seem more Christian than pagan. By building up the sculptural figures with dense layers of white paint, the artist invites the observer to consider what is real (tactile) versus what is depicted (seen).

See other highlighted objects here.