David Beheading Goliath, c. 1520-25


Gift of Herschel V. Jones, 1926expand_more  P.10,936

Not on Viewexpand_more

Around 1517–19, artists from Raphael’s workshop frescoed the interior of a loggia, a long open-sided passageway, in the Vatican. On the ceiling of the eleventh bay is this scene of David beheading Goliath.

According to the Books of Samuel from the Bible, the young David, future king of Israel, felled the Philistine warrior Goliath using a simple sling and stone. Here David is set to behead Goliath with the fallen giant’s own sword. Viewers in the 1500s would immediately have interpreted David as Christ, Goliath as Satan, and the Israelites as the Church Triumphant.

The engraving differs from the finished fresco in many details. Marcantonio likely based his work on a now-lost drawing by Raphael or a preparatory work by one of his assistants.

David Beheading Goliath
Artist Life
c. 1475/1480–c.1534
Accession Number
Charles de Valois, Lugt 2479, Paris (until d.1799; his sale, F.Regnault-Delalande, Paris, December 14-19, 1801 [23-28 frimaire an X], no. 231); Julian Marshall, Lugt 1494, London (until 1864; his sale, Sotheby's, London, June 30-July 10, 1864, no. 1573, for £36, to Grundy; James Reiss, Lugt 1523 (1812-1899), Manchester and London; Herschel V. Jones, Minneapolis (until 1926; gave to MIA)
Catalogue Raisonne
Bartsch XIV.12.10 (first state, before tablet with MAF monogram); Delaborde XI.1
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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