Saul and the Witch of Endor

  • William Sidney Mount, Saul and the Witch of Endor, 1828, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of International Business Machines Corporation, 1966.48.1

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William Sidney Mount created only a few paintings based on historical and literary scenes. This piece illustrates a passage from the Old Testament, in which Saul sought help from an oracle before going to war with the Philistines. The witch summoned the spirit of the prophet Samuel so that Saul could ask him for advice. In this painting, Saul and his men cower in horror as the ghost comes forward to speak to them (1 Samuel 28). This episode was familiar to nineteenth-century audiences who had been raised on scripture.

Title
Saul and the Witch of Endor
Artists
Date
1828
On View
Dimensions
36 x 48 in. (91.3 x 122.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of International Business Machines Corporation

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Religion – Old Testament – Saul
  • Religion – Old Testament – Witch of Endor
  • State of being – emotion – fear
  • State of being – phenomenon – vision
  • Landscape – time – night
  • Figure group – male
Object Number
1966.48.1
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI