The Old Testament Prophet Nathan, one of the authors of the Book of Kings, lived in the time of kings David and Solomon. He came to reprimand David over his committing adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the death of her husband Uriah the Hitite (2 Samuel, 12). Nathan had earlier reported to king David the Lord’s decree to built the temple; David’s plans, formerly approved by Nathan, would not be realized but the Lord established the house of David eternally instead and blessed him (2 Samuel, 7) Nathan was a tutor of king Solomon; when Adonijah, David’s eldest surviving son, declared himself a king, Nathan interfered and supported Solomon (2 Samuel, 12: 25). Nathan saw to David timely anointing Solomon as king (1 Kings, 1). Through Nathan, and other prophet Gad the Lord passed to David his commandment as to how a service of Levite singers and musicians be arranged (2 Chronicles 29: 25).

The prophet Nathan is traditionally depicted as an old man wearing a blue chiton and green himation (colors vary on different icons) with a scroll in his hands. In iconography the Prophet Nathan is represented in the prophets’ tier of the high iconostases, for example, in the Assumption Cathedral of the Cyril of Belozersk Monastery (1497, State Russian Museum).

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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