c. 1435. Wing from the Mirror of Salvation altarliece from St. Leonhard, Basle. Tempera on wood. Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Read Note.
Abishai Kneeling before David. Sabobai and Benaiah. These panels originally formed part of an altarpiece, which Witz executed for the St. Leonard’s church in Basle. The altarpiece, which comprised several such panels, has not survived intact. The subjects are drawn from a medieval devotional, the Speculum humanae salvationis (Mirror of Salvation), in which scenes from the Old Testament thereby prefigure those in the New. The panel with King David and the knight Abishai, kneeling before him, must be read in conjunction with the panel immediately to its right, which shows the two knights Sabobai and Benaiah. Together, Sabobai, Benaiah and Abishai are bringing David water from the Bethlehem cistern. The scene was considered the Old Testament counterpart to the Adoration of the Magi.