David and Goliath (c.1863) by Edgar Degas

David and Goliath - Edgar Degas - c.1863

Artwork Information

TitleDavid and Goliath
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions80 x 63.8 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationFitzwilliam Museum (University of Cambridge), Cambridge, UK

About David and Goliath

The artwork titled “David and Goliath,” created circa 1863 by Edgar Degas, is an oil on canvas painting that exemplifies the Impressionist art movement. Measuring 80 by 63.8 centimeters, this religious painting is presently housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, which is a part of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK.

The artwork depicts the biblical story of David and Goliath, capturing a moment of intense drama and emotion. In the fore, a lithe figure representing David is portrayed with a sense of motion, likely having just released the stone from his sling. His body displays a youthful grace and a poised determination, contrasting with the hazy, subdued background where the giant Goliath’s towering form begins to topple. Degas’s use of loose, expressive brushstrokes provides a sense of movement and urgency, as well as the signature style indicative of Impressionism, wherein precise details are less important than the capture of light and the moment’s overall atmosphere. The palette seems muted, relying on earthy tones to convey the somberness of the scene and the gravity of David’s triumph over Goliath. The powerful narrative told through this artwork reflects Degas’s ability to infuse traditional religious subjects with a modern and emotive expression.

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