The Philistine Goliath said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” and David replied… “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head…” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. David with the Head of Goliath by Andrea del Castagno presents the famous Biblical story described in the Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 17) in an exemplary Florentine style that fascinates me! https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2017&version=NIV
David with the Head of Goliath, exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, is one more example of the Florentine fascination with David, the Biblical King, and Hero. David, early in the 15th century, became the embodiment of the city’s Republican identity and a favourite theme for artistic commissions. The people of Florence, a small political power at the time (15th century), identified themselves with young and untried at war David, his intelligence, his motivation, and ultimate success. Goliath was compared to the big Renaissance political entities like Milan… crushed by the will of God and Florentine “diplomacy.” The story is endlessly told by great masters like Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo… and Andrea del Castagno in an amazing and unique painting!
This is actually an amazing, unique, and rare painted Heraldic Shield, a type of shield, that would be carried in civic processions and then housed in the owner’s bedroom chamber. According to the NGA experts, young… David has been victorious in battle against the giant Goliath, whose decapitated head lies at his feet. David is shown with his hand raised in a gesture that speaks of determination and self-possession and may have been taken from an antique model. Furthermore, Andrea’s Shield of David, combining references of personal and civic valor, and painted by a highly esteemed artist of the period, would have underscored the owner’s readiness to do battle on both a metaphorical and an actual level, testifying to his civic and personal virtues. An amazing, unique, and rare work of Art, to say the least. http://www.italianrenaissanceresources.com/units/unit-5/essays/the-beautiful-chamber/
For information on the relationship between Andrea del Castagno and Domenico Veneziano… the fictional story of how Domenico Veneziano was murdered by his good friend Andrea del Castagno… a story masterfully said by Gorgio Vasari, but totally untrue… please go to my Teacher Curator Post: https://www.teachercurator.com/art/teaching-with-domenico-veneziano/
For a National Gallery Podcast on Andrea del Castagno’s David with the Head of Goliath, check… https://www.nga.gov/audio-video/audio/david-and-goliath-castagno-english.html
For a PowerPoint on Andrea del Castagno, please… Click HERE!