Caravaggio 1573 – 1610

David with the Head of Goliath (1610)

oil on canvas (125 × 100 cm) — 1610 Museum Galleria Borghese, Rome

Caravaggio biography

This work is linked to 1 Samuel 17:51

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David has killed the Philistine giant Goliath with a stone from his sling. He then cuts of the head to show it to his brothers-in-arms.

This is one of Caravaggio's last works. Some claim that the giant's head is a self-portrait. David does not seem to celebrate his victory. Maybe he is disgusted with the killing of a man, even though it was an enemy. Or maybe Caravaggio is projecting his own disgust. Caravaggio had some experience as a killer: in 1606, he had killed a man with his sword during a quarrel over a bet.

Earlier paintings by Caravaggio on the same subject date from 1601 and 1606.

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