Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was essentially a self-taught artist. He visited Asia Minor and North Africa as early as 1828 and influenced an entire generation of artists who travelled to the East. Decamps was honoured with a retrospective – alongside Delacroix and Ingres – at the Exposition universelle in Paris in 1855. This painting depicts a scene from the story of the first king of Israel, Saul, who pursues with murderous jealousy his young champion, David: at the end of the long manhunt, David would assume command of the rebels and become the nation’s second king. The moment depicted here is the showdown. One night, from the top of a far-off mountain, David called out to Saul and the army who had come to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph.