King David is an example of the late work of Govert Flinck, after he had abandoned the style of his former teacher, Rembrandt, in favour of the Flemish academic style. Early in his career, Flinck relied heavily on the techniques and compositions of Rembrandt. However, around 1642, he began painting in a style that better reflected the taste of his public. Flemish painting of that period, of which the work of Van Dyck is the best example, was elegant and highly polished. It was well suited to representing the status of portrait sitters in its attention to detail and careful handling of the various textures of fine fabrics. Flinck had many important patrons, demonstrating his ability to adapt to the taste of the period. There has been some dispute over the identity of the figure in this work because the painting lacks the obvious clues we have come to expect in paintings of historical or religious figures. It is clear that it depicts an ancient King in his study, but nothing definitively points to King David. The painting had, in fact, been overpainted at some point to suggest the figure was St. John the Evangelist.