David with the Head of Goliath, Guido Reni, 1605

Description of the picture:

David with the head of Goliath – Guido Reni. 1605. Oil on canvas. 222×147
The painter of the Bologna school, where academism flourished, Guido Reni (1575-1642) was also under the influence of Caravaggio. He accepted the master’s conviction that art should be as close to reality as possible, therefore one should not be afraid to portray even nasty or terrible things. This synthesis of passionate, realistic painting and academic manner embodied in Reni’s painting “David with the Head of Goliath”.

One of the features of caravaggism was the contrast lighting that the artist uses here, but his light is not as warm as that of Caravaggio, but rather cold. The biblical shepherd David, who defeated the giant, stands in an elegant pose, in a cap with a feather and looks distantly at the enemy’s head, written with naturalistic details. The tradition of depicting David as a handsome young man was established in Italian art as early as the 15th century, an example of which is the statue of Donatello. But the contrast between the young, flourishing hero, personifying life itself, and the terrible head of the murdered giant, on which Reni’s work is based, was characteristic of the art of mannerism and academism."

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