Friday, April 9, 2010

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, David with the Head of Goliath

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called II Guercino
Italian (Bolognese), 1591-1666

David with the Head of Goliath, ca.1618

This David and Goliath is an early work by Guercino painted in fresco, a technique in which paint is applied to fresh plaster which, as it dries, bonds with the pigment. A good portion of the tree on the right, however, has been painted on top of the dry plaster, using pigments bound with glue or egg. Fresco painting was normally used for large scale, architectural decorations rather than individual, smaller scale works such as this. It is possible that Guercino did this painting as an exercise in mastering the fresco technique. It depicts the Biblical story of David, who against all odds, killed the Philistine giant Goliath and beheaded  him with the giant's own sword.

The original work can be viewed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references by the museum.

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