Jacob van I Oost

David Bearing the Head of Goliath

David Bearing the Head of Goliath
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Jacob van I Oost
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 102x81 cm
Origin: Flanders, 1643

During the war between the tribes of the Israelites and the Philistines, young David was celebrated for his victory over the giant Goliath. When the opponents stood face to face in the field of battle, Goliath stepped out of the ranks of the Philistines challenging anyone who wished to engage him in single combat. The challenge was taken up by David, a shepherd who left his father's flock to visit his older brothers who were fighting together on the side of their people. He took his staff and several stones and stepped out to face Goliath. "And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth." . Seeing that the giant was dead, the Philistines fled. In this painting by Jacob van Oost, we find David triumphantly carrying a sword and the head of the defeated Goliath. The Biblical episode which attracted the artist was rather rarely used in 17th-century Flemish art. It is likely that the source of inspiration for this painting was the famous canvas with the same name by the Italian master Michelangelo da Caravaggio . These two works are related insofar as they have a common iconography of the subject, which is presented in the mainstream of Christian tradition, interpreting the victory of David over Goliath as a prototype for the victory of Christ over Satan. The work was painted in the mature period of van Oost's career and is noted for the subdued colours and fine painterly style.

Personage: David
Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of V. P. Kostromitinova, St Petersburg, 1895
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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