(b. ca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)

King David Playin a Psaltery

c. 1430
Pen and brown ink and purple wash on vellum, 197 x 179 mm
British Museum, London

In the reformed Dominican communities such as Angelico's own, San Marco, it is known that manuscript illumination was encouraged and prac tised. There is only one volume in which extensive work can safely be attributed to him, and that is the Missal number 558 at San Marco. This drawing of King David playing a Psaltery appears to be closely related in style to the work in Missal 558. David sits awkwardly, at the base of a throne on a seat, plucking at the strings of his psaltery. The depiction of the plinth, panelling, entablature and other details of the architecture on which he rests, suggests that this drawing dates from the same period as the San Marco Missal, but there can be no certainty that it was actually intended as a sketch or preparatory drawing for a manuscript illumination. The solidity and depth of parts of the draperies hint at the modelling of which Angelico was capable.