King David appears in the Old Testament in the First and Second Books of Samuel and in the first chapter of the First Book of kings.
David is "ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to" (1 Sam. 16:12).
Donatello's bronze (1430-1440) shows David as a handsome nude boy.
In Caravaggio's David II (ca 1606, Galleria Borghese), Caravaggio's lover Cecco Boneri posed as David. ; the head of Goliath is the artist's self-portrait.
Aubin Vouet shows an androgynous boy in David Holding the Head of Goliath (ca 1622-1626, Bordeaux).
David's loved Jonathan, the son of David's predecessor Saul.
When the two friends are forced to part from each other, "they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded" (1 Sam. 20:41).
Jonathan is killed alongside his father in battle. David relates: "The beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places; how are the mighty fallen! . . . I am very distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love was wonderful, passing the love of women" (2 Sam. 1:19-26).
Sir Frederic Leighton's Jonathan's Token to David was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1868.