The painting Saul and David first emerged in 1830 at an auction in Paris. It then remained on the market for years. In 1898, the director of the Mauritshuis, Abraham Bredius, bought the painting. There was no doubt in his mind that this was one of Rembrandt's most important paintings. After his death in 1946, Bredius left the painting to the museum. Saul and David was considered one of the most beautiful works by Rembrandt, and was a favourite of the visitors of the Mauritshuis.
In the sixties and seventies, Rembrandt's oeuvre was examined in a new light. Horst Gerson, Rembrandt expert and authority in his time, wrote off many of Rembrandt's paintings, including Saul and David. Opinions about the attribution have varied widely ever since: is it really by Rembrandt? By a pupil? Or perhaps both? To solve the mystery once and for all, the Mauritshuis decided to research and restore the painting again in 2007.
This study and its results are the subject of the exhibition Rembrandt? The Case of Saul and David.
Lecture 3: Provenance of Saul and David