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Painting of the Week: David with the Head of Goliath

This morbid piece from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is called David with the Head of Goliath. It depicts the exact moment in 1 Samuel 17:57 where David presented the Philistine’s head in triumph to Saul.

Some believe the model for David was Caravaggio’s young servant and possible pupil from Rome. David appears to be a more mature version of the pubescent cupid in Amor Vincit Omnia and of John in John the Baptist—both painted around 1602.

The artist treated this subject in two other paintings, though this version is much lighter in tone.

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When David came back after killing the Philistine, Abner took him and presented him to Saul with the Philistine’s head still in his hand.
– 1 Samuel 17:57

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Year: circa 1607

Location: David with the Head of Goliath is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Gemäldegalerie in Vienna, Austria.

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Read more about this piece and browse other sacred art in the Verbum app.

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