David with the head of Goliath

Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio • Painting, 1610, 125×101 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Religious scene
Style of art: Baroque
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1610
Size: 125×101 cm
Content 18+
Artwork in selections: 56 selections

Description of the artwork «David with the head of Goliath»

The Italian artist Caravaggio has repeatedly appealed to the biblical story of the confrontation between the young shepherd David and the giant Goliath. In the period from 1599 to 1610, he created three paintings, which depict the final moment of this match: the winner holds in his hand the severed head of the vanquished. The picture "David with the head of Goliath"that we offer, was written in 1610, shortly before the death of the great painter.

According to the Bible, the army of the Philistines came against the Israelites, the king which at that time was Saul. Three older brothers of David went to the defense of his people, leaving young David and elderly parents. A few days later the father sent a younger son to the camp, Israeli troops, instructing him to convey to the brothers food and learn how things work. Coming to brothers, David saw the Philistine giant, clad in armor out on the battlefield, he mocked the Israelites.

The soldiers of Saul not dared to meet the giant, and then David spoke to the king with a request to allow him to oppose Goliath. The boy convinced the king that will be able to cope with the experienced warrior, and, abandoning the armor and weapons, went into the game with only one slingshot. The first released from her stone hit Goliath in the face of the giant collapsed dead. Terrified, the Philistines began to flee, and Saul's army won a quick victory.

On the canvas, Caravaggio depicts David standing with the head of Goliath. After defeating the giant, he cut off the head of the enemy, to frighten the Philistine warriors. The figure of a man appears as if from impenetrable darkness, lit by the bright rays of the sun. David is dressed in a large white shirt, one sleeve of which the young man took off before the fight so that the fabric does not interfere how to bunt and homespun pants with drawstring. In his right hand clutching a sword with a thin, sharp blade, the left lifts the severed head of a defeated enemy.

Despite the victory, David stood with the head of Goliath in his hand, not looks like a winner: Caravaggio painted on the boy's face of sadness and regret. This painting is very different from the other two paintings by the master on the same story. On canvas, dated 1599 year, we see a young man, busily bent over the giant — his thoughtful face facing the viewer in profile. "David with the head of Goliath" created by Caravaggio in 1607, compositionally similar to the later picture, however, the expression cowgirl can be called more wistful than tragic-sad.

According to one version, the painting "David with the head of Goliath" in the image of a cowgirl artist depicted himself in his youth, and the head of Goliath — Caravaggio-portrait. As you know, Michelangelo, reputed to be from a young age a bully his entire life wandering due to the fact that not once broke the law. In this case, the pattern is interpreted as follows: David with the head of Goliath is a psychological conflict between experiencing guilt and need to punish, I (the image of Goliath) and punishing superego (the image of David).

Today, the painting "David with the head of Goliath" can be seen in the Borghese Gallery, which is located in Rome (Italy).