- Museum number
David and Goliath; David with sword raised standing astride the giant
- Production date
Height: 154 millimetres
Width: 111 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- A study for Daniele's double-sided painting on slate now in the Louvre, Paris. For discussion of the genesis of this work see Thomas 2000.
Lit: J.A. Gere and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Artists working in Rome', London, 1983, no. 90; B. Thomas, "'The lantern of painting': Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra and the paragone", "Apollo", August 2001, pp. 46-53, fig. 6
Gere & Pouncey 1983
A study for one of the two variant treatments of the subject commissioned from Daniele by Monsignor Giovanni della Casa (see 1976,0515.2) and painted by him on either side of a slab of slate. Vasari (vii, p. 61), says that Della Casa, who was meditating a theoretical treatise on painting (which would presumably have had as its theme the then active controversy over the relative merits of painting and sculpture), first commissioned a 'modello finito' in terracotta of the group which Daniele was then required to paint "o vero ritrarre". The resulting pair of paintings, now belonging to the Louvre and deposited in the château at Fontainebleau (repr. Venturi ix6, figs. 147 and 146; Tolnay, Michelangelo, v, figs. 184-5; and elsewhere) represent essentially the same group seen from the front and back: (a) with the heads to the r. and Goliath seen from the back, and (b) with the heads to the l. and Goliath seen from the front. (The two are not completely identical, since in (a) Goliath is grasping David's l. arm by the wrist, and in (b) above the elbow.)
As with his paintings of 'Aeneas', 'Mercury and Dido' and 'The Baptist in the Wilderness', both also commissioned by Della Casa, Daniele benefited from the assistance of Michelangelo, four sketches by whom for the group of 'David and Goliath' are in the Pierpont Morgan Library (Tolnay, op. cit., figs. 179-82). These show the group with the heads to the r. as in (a), but with Goliath's body seen from the front as in (b). 1956,1013.14, though an equally rough sketch, is certainly by Daniele. It corresponds with (b) in essentials, though there are considerable differences in the position of David's r. arm and Goliath's body and l. arm. A much larger, partly squared black chalk study in the Louvre (1513; Barolsky, 'Daniele', 1979, pl. 70) is nearer to 1956,1013.14 than to the painting in all these details. This drawing, in part executed in Daniele's unmistakable highly finished chalk technique (for examples in this collection, see 1952,1011.6 and 1946,0713.114), comes close to 1956,1013.14 in its sketchier passages; while in cast of features, expression and graphic shorthand, David's face is identical in both.
Louvre 1512 (Barolsky, op. cit., pl. 71) is a companion study to Louvre 1513 and comes very close to (a) in all essentials, except in showing the figures naked and in the position of Goliath's l. arm. A fragment of what appears to have been an earlier study for (a), in the same medium and technique but even more.highly finished, is in the Uffizi (14965F; Davidson, 'Perino', fig. 68 and Gere, 'Manierismo', pl. viii).
Literature: Barolsky, Daniele, 1979, p. 93
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1964, BM, Michelangelo, no.114(d)
2013 Feb-May, Montpellier, Musée Fabre, L'atelier de l'oeuvre
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
Gere & Pouncey 1983
Please see 1956,1013.20 for further provenance
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number