David and Goliath (1542 – 1544) by Titian

David and Goliath - Titian - 1542 - 1544

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Artwork Information

TitleDavid and Goliath
Date1542 - 1544
Dimensions300 x 285 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationSanta Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy

About David and Goliath

The artwork “David and Goliath” is an oil on panel painting by the renowned artist Titian, created during the period between 1542 and 1544. Exhibiting the characteristics of the Mannerism movement, which succeeded the High Renaissance, this religious painting presents dramatic and complex positioning of the figures. The piece measures 300 by 285 centimeters and it is located in the church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy.

The artwork depicts the climactic moment after the young David has defeated the giant Goliath. In the foreground, Goliath’s lifeless body dominantly takes up the space, his head cleaved and bloodied, lying awkwardly with his limbs in a state of sudden collapse. David, by contrast, is shown as a much smaller figure standing triumphantly over the body of the Philistine champion. He gazes upwards, his posture suggesting an expression of gratitude and perhaps communication with the divine for his unlikely victory.

The composition is stark, with dark clouds parting in the sky to reveal a suggestion of heavenly light that seems to shine down on the scene. The color palette is decidedly muted, using deep shadows to heighten the dramatic effect and emphasize the contrast between the two central figures. These visual elements work together to capture the intensity of the biblical narrative and underscore the themes of divine intervention and the victory of faith and cunning over brute strength.

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